Most young people from Suffield have found themselves enduring a demanding schedule during this school year without much time for any leisure. Many of those in high school are diligently balancing their considerable academic course loads with sports and fine arts commitments, and for some, even a job that eats up their extra free time. Those in college have been enjoying new freedoms and experiences that have come with new responsibilities away from home. With so many commitments and things to do, most young people feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Suddenly, such busy and engaging schedules that made each day fly by have turned into long days of isolation at home. The scarily rapid spread of COVID-19 has instilled feelings of panic and fear in school administrators, business owners, and especially the parents of these Suffield teens, causing all to take action in an attempt to protect our town’s children by enforcing the concept of social distancing. Most notably, this action has included the closing of all schools and college campuses.
Suffield High’s seniors have experienced detrimental impacts from the virus. 2020 is their last year to leave their lasting impressions on our town and our high school… but they may never even get the chance to step foot in SHS again. They may never get the chance to walk across Ted W. Beneski Field and properly receive their diplomas that they have been working towards for 13 years. They may never get the chance to attend their last prom or have their own Senior Night. These things are supposed to be the absolute highlights of every senior’s year, but they are getting closer and closer to being washed away by COVID-19 with every passing minute. SHS seniors are beyond devastated, frustrated, and scared. Many seniors are questioning the value of all of their diligent and hard work with the possibility that they may not get to graduate or experience all of the things that all seniors should be able to at the end of their long journey of schooling.
When SHS seniors move on to their new lives at college, they flourish in new and unimaginable ways that they hadn’t before. Finally, after over 13 years of living in Suffield and attending SHS, a school of only about 450 kids, these young adults are able to meet new people from around the world. They are able to experience a new city. They are able to move on from their contained lives, and maybe they are able to realize that they are not suited for a small town like Suffield. The recent graduates of Suffield High School only got a small taste of what their lives as adults are going to be like because COVID-19 has abruptly cut their experiences a bit short. They have come back home to self-quarantine, returning back to the lives they lived in high school, suddenly feeling like a small child again.
Quarantine hasn’t been an easy thing for anyone who is a part of the Suffield community to deal with, but Suffield’s young adults are having a significant amount of trouble coping with the losses they have experienced. It is hard to accept that you may never get the graduation you always dreamed of. It is hard to accept not getting to experience your Senior Prom. It is hard to accept the school production that took hours of work and effort getting cancelled. It is hard to imagine not getting to have a Senior Night after dedicating your life to a sport.
It is important that we, as a community, take the time to look out for our Suffield students, whether high school or college, and to help them through these troubling times, and to help them remember that more beautiful parts of life are coming to reward them after quarantine.