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Indiana high school seniors missing out on milestones because of virus restrictions

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Prom, final games and graduation: Those are some of the milestones the high school graduating class of 2020 is missing out on because of the coronavirus.

For many seniors, this is a time they have been looking forward to all year long, a time filled with celebrations and events honoring them and the efforts they have put forward leading up to this big milestone in their life. But now because of the coronavirus, they won’t get to take part in those traditions.

When Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that all K-12 schools would have to transition to e-learning for the remainder of the school year, it hit families of graduating seniors pretty hard.

“It was a rough day,” said mom Stacy Williams.

“I cried for the whole day straight without stopping,” said Center Grove senior Arden Williams.

Photo courtesy Arden Williams

Many schools, including Greenwood and Center Grove high schools, dedicate the last few weeks of the school year to their graduating classes.

“There is just a lot of those things that are really geared towards the seniors in those last few weeks of high school that unfortunately they are missing out on this year,” said Andi Campbell, a teacher at Greenwood High School.

Williams said she and her friends have been looking forward to their senior celebrations for years: “That is all me and my friends would talk about is Senior Week. What color toga we wanted to wear and how are we going to get this bike to ride to school and all this stuff.”

Photo courtesy Arden Williams

While missing big events like senior prom and senior sport nights are difficult to deal with, it’s missing the final goodbye that is heartbreaking to many seniors.

“I may never see some of the kids that were in that class I have had for four years ever again,” said Williams.

It is hard for seniors to see a bright side of this situation, but parents and teachers are trying to stay positive.

“I am sure they are not missing out on all the standardized testing and finals, and all that kind of stuff so maybe that is kind of the give and take a little bit that they also aren’t the stressed out seniors that you also sometimes see,” said Campbell.

Many kids are still holding onto hope that they’ll get their movie moment of throwing their caps into the air, even if it doesn’t happen in May.

“I am hoping and praying that we get a graduation and that I get to actually say goodbye to everybody, all my friends. That is the main thing that is trying to get me through,” said Williams said.

Many schools in the state have made arrangements for a virtual graduation but are waiting until May to make the final call on what the 2020 graduation ceremony will look like.