2020 High School Graduates Find New Normal During Coronavirus

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Lisa Falknor.

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You turn 18 once. You graduate from high school once. For Luke Faddis, these milestones look a bit different because of the coronavirus. “We were hearing about COVID-19 at home before everyone else because my dad is a doctor,” said the Bentonville West High School graduate. He thought, “I had better say goodbye to friends and teachers because this is probably my last day of high school.’” Maggie Gibson said she had no idea that March 13 would be her last day at Cabot High School. “It’s been kind of chaotic,” she said. “We were in a state of ‘I don’t know what’s coming next.’”

Maggie and Luke finished their last semester online. “The first week, some teachers gave too much homework, some not enough,” said Luke. After spring break, his school had figured out the new normal. Next came the graduation ceremony.

Fayetteville High School graduate Lilly Stults said she could not attend her school’s graduation parade since her parents had to work. The pending date for her graduation celebration is July 2. Other plans changed for Lilly too–including a trip to Israel that was canceled, but she stays busy. She wakes up at 8 and has a goal to do one activity each day. She joins her active church college group online but finds it to be a poor substitute for face-to-face gatherings. Even the fellowships Maggie’s church youth group has in the church parking lot require social distancing. That is why when asked about her future, she points to a healthy social life at Arkansas State University, “I look forward to the next chapter in my life meeting new people and seeing faces every day.”

Luke will attend Ouachita Baptist University, but first he’s trying to earn his Eagle Scout badge before he turns 18. On his birthday, he said friends and family will drive by to say hi, similar to his school’s drive-by graduation ceremony. “My birthday won’t be a formal celebration,” he said. “It will just be a little, small thing.”

This article was originally sent out via email as a publication of the CYL Team of the ABSC.

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