Class of 2020 reflects on an untimely end of school careers

    The Steelville High School Class of 2020 is ending their public school careers at home instead of in the school buildings as a result of the COVID-10 pandemic. The Steelville Star asked seniors to answer some questions about this unprecedented end to their big year and their plans for the future. The following are the questions and the responses received as of our print deadline for this week.

    Questions: What are your thoughts about this end to your public school career? How is the study-at-home process going? What do you think about graduation and prom? What do you miss most about being at school? What are your plans after you complete high school?
    Kyle Fox, son of Amanda and Dayne Kilbreth, called it a “huge” bummer to end his school career this way but added, “I definitely think the decision was appropriate for these circumstances.” As far as studying at home, he said, “I'm getting everything done on time and learning as much as I can.” He hopes they will be able to have graduation and prom, and said, “If they take place during a weekend in summer, I'm definitely going to attend.” Fox misses all of his teachers and friends, the conversations held every day and “just the process of going to school in general.” In the future, he plans to get a degree in music education to potentially become a band director.
    Haylea Barnicle, daughter of Crystal Barnicle and Jeffrey Barnicle, said, “I really don't like the way it ended. I wish I knew that it would be my last day of high school so I could've made the best of it. It hurts to know that I'll never be able to walk those halls as a student again.” Her studying at home is going “pretty good,” and she likes having more time to complete her schoolwork. She’s not concerned about missing a graduation ceremony, but is about prom. “This was the prom I was looking forward to,” she said. “This is the prom that I really wanted to go to.” She also misses being around her friends all the time at school. After she graduates. She plans to go to East Central College to take basic classes then get an LPN degree.
    Paige Brazel, granddaughter of Liz Powell, said the end of her school career was “sudden and took us all by surprise. We all wish we could have some sort of closure, but I think I’m thankful for what I did get. It’s something we get to tell our children about in the future so it’s also pretty interesting.” Studying at home is going “okay, but she said, “I often fail to find motivation but I do get my work done.” She’s concerned that the first plan for a weekend in June to hold prom and graduation won’t work, but is hopeful the secondary plan in July will. “I will be thankful for whatever I am able to get,” she said. “I’m thankful that the school is still trying to make this work for us.” Brazel misses her teachers and her friends, and “even the little conversations that we would have in public speaking completely off topic. Not having a regular school day/school at all, is weird. I also miss my band mates.” In the future she plans to attend East Central College in Rolla to earn a degree for Elementary Education.
    Jessicca Shoemake, daughter of Jennifer Smith and Matt Johnston, said she is “really upset about missing out on all my senior year milestones. It’s been a long and hard journey to get where I am, and it’s been really hard processing the fact that I won’t get to experience the legend that is senior year. I really hope we have a prom and graduation. I’ve been looking forward to senior prom for a long time and I would hate to miss out on it. Same goes for graduation. I would much rather have a postponed proper graduation than a makeshift one. I’ve dreamt of walking across that stage since before I could remember.” Shoemake misses the structure of school and seeing all of her friends and teachers daily. Her future plans include higher education at either East Central College or Missouri State University to major in secondary education and eventually teach high school English.
    Sarah Hajek, daughter of Susan Bell and Skip Hajek, is “very sad that I don't get to say goodbye to all my friends and teachers.” Of how schoolwork is progressing at home she said, “It's going.” She’s happy the school district has plans in place for a rescheduled prom and graduation in the summer and didn't just cancel the events. She misses seeing all my classmates. After graduation, she is going to the College of the Ozarks
    Isabelle Stulce, daughter of Tammy Stulce, said ending school is “sad but it is something we all have looked forward to for a while. We have all been waiting for the day we get to go and explore the world for ourselves and start the next chapter of our lives.” For her, studying at home “is challenging at times. Not being able to ask questions directly is the hardest thing for me personally.” She said Seniors have looked forward to graduation and prom because it’s the last couple of things they get to do as a class and hopes they can be rescheduled. She misses seeing friends and teachers every day. “These teachers are the reason we have been able to excel as students so it’s really sad we cannot see them every day and occasionally bug them,” she said. After school, she plans to attend Missouri State University to study business.
    Maggie Green, daughter of Angie and Kevin Green, said, “I’m really sad about school ending. I feel like we didn't have enough time to process that we would never step foot into the school as an SHS student anymore. We weren’t given as much time as all of the other classes got to say goodbye to the school, their teachers, and their peers. It is really sad for us, but I know that we will get through this together, as every high school senior in the country is in the same or similar situation.” She’s upset that the Class of 2020 won’t be able to have prom or graduation on their original dates but is excited about the possibility of holding them during the summer months. “I’m glad that the school board has not decided to just cancel both events, as they are both very big moments for us seniors,” she said. Of being at home, she said, “I honestly just miss seeing people other than my family! I feel so cooped up at home, and I want to be able to see my friends. I also miss all of the kindergarteners that I get to help teach in kindergarten music, through my internship.” Her future plans include attending classes at East Central College for the first two years, and then transfer to Evangel University after those two years. She plans to major in Elementary Education, and possibly minor in Children’s Ministry.
    Lauren Freeman, the daughter of Cyndi Corman, said, “The fact that our school year has been cut short is extremely disappointing. We have been looking forward to this moment for the last 12 years, and it is sad that it has been ripped away from us along with our senior prom, our parents decorating our lockers, and getting to walk the middle and elementary school hallways in our caps and gowns.” She says studying at home is going okay, but added, “It is weird not having that interaction with your teachers and being able to ask questions like you normally would.” She’s hopeful both graduation and prom can take place on rescheduled dates, and misses getting to see her peers at teachers at school. After graduation, she plans to enroll in classes at East Central College.
    Daniel Goddard, the brother of Heather Marlow, says he misses “actual school,” his friends, and having an escape. He wishes prom and graduation could have taken place as originally planned. In the future, he plans to get a degree in graphic design or therapy.
    Coltin Counts, the son of Angie and Rick Counts, said this end to his school career is “pretty sad and devastating. We did not know we walked the halls for the last time on the last day. But I am still trying to be positive about it.” His studies at home are going pretty well, although he said he’s “having some snags every now and then.” He misses seeing his friends and teachers, and hopes prom and graduation can take place on a rescheduled date. After high school, he plans to attend classes at Rolla Technical Institute for a third year to earn his Adobe certification.
    Kadin Norris, the son of Robert and Christy Norris, said the sudden end to his Senior year of high school is “pretty sad. I wish I could’ve got to spend the rest of the time with all my friends.” Of studying at home, he said he gets “preoccupied easily, and staying focused is a task in itself.” He would be fine with any plans for prom and graduation as long as they get to have one. He misses seeing his friends and talking with his teachers at school in addition to the sports he is missing out on. He’s “still a little unsure of his future plans,” but hopes “everyone else is doing well and stays safe!”
    Colin Albin, the son Steven Albin and Heather Albin,” is not happy with the end of his school career. His studies at home are “going,” and he said prom and graduation are “cool” and he can’t wait for them. He misses his friends and teachers at school. After graduation, he plans to attend classes at Missouri S&T in Rolla. He added, “To all my fellow Seniors, stay safe and have fun.”
    Alisha Reynolds, the daughter of Matt and Heather Williams, said “I am very sad that we didn’t get to finish. We had so much more to experience and we didn’t get that.” She said her studying at home is going pretty well, but added, “I am having a little trouble getting motivated to do the work.” She misses being around all of the people at school. She’s glad the district is trying to eventually have prom and graduation. After high school, she plans to go to college to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
    Madison Housewright, the daughter of Rob and Jennifer Housewright, said, “It is heartbreaking to think that my last day seeing all of my friends and teachers was so early and we didn’t even know it was the end.” After concluding her high school career, she plans to attend college and become an oncologist.
    Maggie Brown, the daughter of Sylvia Payne, said, “I wish that the circumstances were better, but I’m incredibly happy the remainder of the school year was cancelled.” Her studies at home are going well, but she does miss seeing her friends. Of prom and graduation, she said, “In order to protect people from this virus we all have to make sacrifices - ours is postponing a dance and ceremony, it could definitely be worse.” After high school, she plans to move I’m to California to attend John Paul Catholic University and obtain a degree in theology and philosophy.
    Jeremiah Rogers, the son of Steffanie Rogers, said he didn’t “really care that much” about this end to his school career. He “didn’t really want to participate” in prom or graduation anyway. His studies at home are going well, although he misses having the ability to not be distracted while doing his work. After finishing high school, he plans to go to East Central College to take general classes.

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