Countless senior traditions canceled

September 5, 2020 — by Avani Kongetira
senior traditions artwork

Seniors reflect on the many events that have been canceled or postponed this semester.

When senior Shauna Zahabi heard that the senior sunrise had been called off this semester, she was barely surprised. After having so many other events canceled previously by COVID-19, the news of one more cancellation was nothing out of the ordinary. 

The senior sunrise is a longstanding tradition where the senior class watches the sun rise from the football field on the first day of school. In light of the pandemic and worsening air quality caused by wildfires, however, that changed this year.

This is the most recent of many events, which include the Back to School dance and rallies, that have been canceled so far during the fall semester. 

Although senior Charlotte Shewchuck understands why there have been so many cancellations, she had expected school to be open by the beginning of the school year and the pandemic to be in the rear-view mirror. 

“At this point I’m more numb than anything,” she said. “I’m not surprised that anything is canceled, but it’s still frustrating.” 

The senior sunrise, which represents the start of their final year of high school, goes hand in hand with another tradition: the senior sunset, an event where the seniors come together to watch the sunset the day of graduation and bring their high school experience to an end.

“It’s important to have one last time where all of my peers can come together and see each other before we all go our separate ways,” Zahabi said.

Along with the senior sunrise, some events like rallies were simply canceled altogether, while others, like Homecoming, have been pushed to the spring semester or transitioned to some kind of online format.

For Zahabi, it is Homecoming and the Marine Biology trip to Catalina that she will miss the most. 

Since her sister, 2020 alumnus Ranna Zahabi, had returned from the Catalina trip with a glowing review, Shauna had been waiting her turn. 

“I’m just sad I won’t get that experience to have fun with my peers,” she said. “I’m missing all the opportunities that the classes above me had.”

After working hard for all of high school, having most of her final year ripped away came as a huge blow for Zahabi. She abandoned any expectations for regaining her last year of high school and found that distracting herself with work or hobbies was the best coping mechanism.

Shewchuck manages in a similar way, by focusing on tasks she would normally do, such as college applications and schoolwork. She also paints in her free time, as a means of releasing some of her stress. 

“I’m honestly just trying to get to the end of the year in one piece,” she said.

 Although senior class president Lauren Tan is making the best of the situation by de-stressing and spending more time with her family, she is disappointed about missing out on certain events.

“I was looking forward to Hoco quad day, especially since it’s my last year,” Tan said. “I love being a part of the dances and skit.”

It is an event that she will sorely miss, along with Bombay in the Bay and powderpuff, but she retains hope that she may still get to enjoy them during second semester.

In the month leading up to senior quad day, the entire class traditionally builds and puts up an arch and decorates the quad. The Homecoming week concludes with the senior skit and the class coming together to perform dances.

While Tan may not get to enjoy these traditions, she tries to have a positive perspective on a world turned upside down by COVID-19.

“I think even though this year was nothing like anyone expected it to be, we have to make the most of it,” she said. “I’m just proud of my friends and teachers for being positive in class even though it’s not face to face."