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Started with lockdowns, ended with a pandemic

 

Last updated 5/20/2020 at 4:55pm



Christal Gaines-Emory

Special to Village News

I’d like to start off by saying that none of this situation is the Fallbrook High School administration’s fault. The circumstance is a raw deal for the 2019-2020 seniors, but also for the teachers and staff. It was not how any of us wanted this year to go, and I know how devastating and disappointing it is for us all. This is in no way the administration’s fault.

On that note, I’d like to talk about our senior class. Seniors all across the nation are angry and disappointed, and I am too. At Fallbrook High, our high school career consisted of multiple lockdowns, gun threats, a few bomb threats, three different principals and more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my school; I really do. I love my friends, my dedicated teachers, my amazing College and Career Center counselors, current principal Narciso Iglesias, the staff and I love all the organizations I’ve been a part of, like National FFA Organization.

That being said, our high school career was rough, and we all know it. Personally, while I’ve made amazing memories these past four years that I will always cherish, I also experienced some of my deepest hardships. I lost my only two remaining grandparents, my grandfather freshman year, then my grandmother sophomore year. And both times, I went back to school the day after like nothing had happened.

I dealt with family loss, drama, broken hearts, broken friendships, anxiety, bad decisions and health scares, but I pushed through these things like all of us do, because there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I almost switched to Oasis High School twice, but I decided not to because Fallbrook High meant a lot to me and the people I had at Fallbrook High meant even more. I wanted to spend the last year of high school with the teachers and friends I love.

The coronavirus has completely obliterated the light at the end of the tunnel for the seniors of the 2019-2020 school year. These last few months were it for some of us. We are going off to college, and we probably will never be as close to most of our high school friends ever again.

These few months were our time to make memories and spend time together before we go off to different states and different professions. And we definitely deserved it after the past few years we’ve had. We deserved to spend our last few months together, dance badly at prom, go to our last Senior Sunset, attend grad night, play our last season of a sport and walk at graduation.

We earned these things. We don’t get to end our childhood on a good note; we’re ending our childhood locked in our houses. We aren’t getting a peaceful send off into adulthood; we don’t get to dance with our friends at prom for the last time or hug them as we throw our caps into the air; we’re getting a virtual graduation and then that may just be the end of it.

I’m not sad because I don’t get to go to my senior prom. I’m sad because I am missing out on the memories I should be making with my favorite people before we go our separate ways. I’m sad because my friends and I are missing what was supposed to be the best year of high school. I’m sad because I may not be able to thank my teachers or counselors before I go off to college.

I’m sad because I wanted to be at school and yeah, if you know me, you know that I’m absolutely loving sleeping in every day. But I’d give that up in a heartbeat to spend the last few weeks of this school year at Fallbrook High. Everyone always promises that the last semester of high school is always the best and it goes by so fast, so you have to enjoy it. Spoiler alert, we’re not enjoying it.

Adults and parents will probably say something cheesy like “Everything happens for a reason,” and they may be right. But right now? I am beyond disappointed in how this all turned out, and I just want to wake up tomorrow at 6:30 a.m., snooze my alarm four times, get up, get ready for school, and drive like hell to make it to Mr. Kirkham’s class two minutes before the bell rings, coffee in hand and backpack hanging on one of my shoulders.

Adults will probably patronize me for saying this, and they have been patronizing us all over social media saying that we’re being dramatic, but I’d like to ask you all to look back on your senior year of high school and remember. Reminisce about the last semester and your prom, and graduation. Remember the look on your favorite teacher’s face when you hugged them goodbye on the last day of school. Think about throwing your cap in the air and knowing that you finally made it.

There are so many bad things in the world, you don’t have to tell me that. Please don’t belittle me and say “Oh honey it could be so much worse!” because you’re right, it certainly could be worse. But for us seniors, right now in this moment? God, it hurts like hell to know that I won’t have the best moments that we were promised of high school to look back on when things get tough. It may sound dramatic to you, but to all the seniors across the globe, it is outrageously disappointing.

Fallbrook High seniors began our high school career with the gun threats and lockdowns, and we’re ending it with a pandemic, stuck in quarantine. A virtual graduation may be the best we can do at this point in time, but respectfully, it's not enough, and it won’t make up for what we’ve lost these past few months. Things could most certainly be worse, and I am grateful that we are safe and healthy, but things could also be much better.

These unfortunate circumstances brought from the virus are disappointing and scary for everyone, but I hope we can all come together when the pandemic ends and appreciate our health and all that we have. We’re all struggling, and while I hope this makes us stronger, I know how hard it is right now, and it is OK to acknowledge that you are struggling and having a hard time.

Jobs have been lost, businesses closed down, people have died, and we are all dealing with these losses in our own ways. We shouldn’t be belittling each other for the disappointment we’re all feeling, we need to stick together instead of tearing each other down.

I hope that when this is over, all of us recognize the importance of living life to the fullest while we can and never taking a moment for granted. We took this year for granted, and if nothing else, we will all learn from this. I’m still hopeful that the graduating class will get to experience a normal graduation, even if it is during the summer like our administration has been hoping, and maybe even a prom too.

That’s probably pushing it, but hey it’s worth a shot. I hope this article reaches you all in good health, and I hope we will all use this experience to grow closer together and value everyone around you. I know I will.

Christal Gaines-Emory is a senior at Fallbrook High School.

 

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