Resilient ‘COVID Class’ bear scars, graduating from college, mostly ‘returning to normal’

By Jacob Dickman
NKyTribune intern

Four years on from the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world has returned to a relatively normal state. People are no longer required to wear masks in public, tens of thousands of people now fill arenas for concerts and sporting events, and most workers have returned to their respective offices.

In this return to normalcy, however, it seems as though too many people are failing to realize that the high school class of 2020, who have been affectionately nicknamed the “COVID Class” due to their senior year being cut short, have graduated from college.

But not only is this class’s college graduation going unnoticed, so too is what they had to fight through. Missing the last quarter of their senior year and transitioning to college at the height of a global pandemic isn’t easy, and people are rightly calling this class ‘resilient’ and ‘brave.’ However, this class is so much more than just that.

Take for example Sydney Johnson, who was a part of St. Henry’s Class of 2020. Johnson was a tennis player for the Crusaders and in the middle of her senior season when it all just ended so suddenly.

“I didn’t get my senior tennis season, which was super hurtful,” said Johnson.

Not only were sports seasons ruined, but so too were different key events such as graduation. Instead of a celebration with friends and family, many graduations were drive-thrus for diplomas. In the case of Brooks Boschert from Covington Catholic, it was a drive thru as well as a gift from teachers and a slideshow.

“Two teachers just brought it to you. . .which was a little awkward,” said Boschert about the gift. “Next, we got our diplomas which was a drive-thru, and my parents made me put on my cap and gown for it. Then we had our prerecorded graduation, which I honestly didn’t watch.”

Like many others, Boschert couldn’t believe that this was how his high school years were ending, in a car with just his immediate family. The same can be said for Loghan Currin of Simon Kenton, who too felt that this wasn’t the way she had envisioned graduating from high school.

“I was just like ‘Oh, ok’ and it was nice to have my family there, but the biggest thing missing was watching all the people I’ve known for almost my whole life graduate too,” said Currin. “We were just all so separate.”

For these three graduates, the transition to college came with its fair share of difficulties. Johnson claimed that she struggled to meet people as being behind a mask made her introverted. Boschert transferred after his first semester as he didn’t feel like he was really at school. And Currin felt super confined and realized later that she met nearly no one in that first year.

As the pandemic began to slow down, there was a return to normalcy, especially for Johnson, Boschert, and Currin. Johnson began to play tennis for Thomas More University, where she met many of her current friends. Boschert made the most of his transfer to the College of Charleston and graduated with a degree in economics and a finance minor before moving to Atlanta for an internship. Currin graduated from the University of Louisville and is now living full time there and working as a social media manager.

Through all the positives and negatives that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, these three found a way to succeed, just like the rest of the 2020 class. And not once, in any of the interviews, did one complain about what was, in a sense, taken from them.

“In my head, don’t take anything for granted,” said Johnson when discussing what she learned from her experiences. “You never know what is going to happen. It’s all about taking each moment in.”

“Every common experience felt so new,” claimed Boschert about the first few months after the end of the pandemic. “It was very exciting for everyone, and everyone was excited to do things like going to the grocery store and seeing their friends.”

“I think I especially value relationships now,” said Currin on what she sees differently. “I think the world also now understands how much we need in-person interaction to survive.”

Despite being fresh out of college, many in the class of 2020 prove that there are still positives in our darkest moments. A majority may only be 21-22 years old now, but the class of 2020 is much more prepared than any of us could’ve imagined they would be, especially after all they went through. Sydney Johnson, Brooks Boschert and Loghan Currin all stand as proof of that fact, as well as the fact of just how special the “COVID Class” is.

Jacob Dickman is a NKyTribune intern, a graduate of Covington Catholic High School and now a journalism student at Indiana State University. He is home for the summer.

One thought on “Resilient ‘COVID Class’ bear scars, graduating from college, mostly ‘returning to normal’

  1. Nicely written, Jacob!
    The pain is very real for the Class of 2020. My daughter was the most involved student I’ve ever seen, and she missed out on a tremendous final semester of high school. It broke our hearts that she didn’t get to properly receive all of the awards that she had earned, much less get to walk across the stage for her diploma. She lost her prom, all of the Senior celebrations, and having a lead role in the school musical with her brother (who was then a freshman). What’s worse, we had two other sons graduating college together that year, and that monumental ceremony was lost as well. We can pretty much call it gut-wrenching; an unimaginable period of time that stole moments we had looked forward to throughout their lives. I won’t ever be able to look back on that time and smile about it. It will always be overshadowed with sadness about what should have been.

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