Essentially, your senior year ended unexpectedly, weeks or even months before it was planned to, because of the novel coronavirus Covid-19. Yes, you’re still “in” class virtually, keeping up to date with assignments and such via computer. But the rituals of senior year, such as senior prom, senior week, and the topper of them all, graduation, have been suddenly, horribly ripped away from you.
These are all milestones, events that most people get to look back on years and even decades later, to remember as a last goodbye to childhood or, if we’re talking about your senior year in college, a last goodbye to your youngest days of adulthood. It all feels so unfair—and it is. But though you will not be able to participate in these important events, even in this age of social distancing you have the power and the means to create links that will keep you connected to the friends you’ve made during high school or college.
In other words, it’s time to get creative. Consider the following ideas that can help you maintain the ties that bind. Implement some of them or use them for inspiration to brainstorm other ideas to help you finish out your school year with good memories.
To stay connected daily, create private Facebook accounts for groups such as:</strong
- Your graduating class
- Seniors who have been among your closest friends in school
- If you’re in college, seniors majoring in your same subject matter
To commemorate milestone events and to simply ensure that all class members are reached, ask your senior class president or another designated leader to group email everyone communications such as:
- Greeting cards and virtual flowers on the days on which the senior prom and graduation were planned
- Weekly notes of encouragement
- Weekly remembrances from various classmates about happenings that occurred over the last four years of school
Create a YouTube channel for your class that shows:
- A montage of class photos and videos over the past four years, put together and edited by a class member with a gift for video editing (fellow students can email him or her photos and videos for video inclusion)
- Videos in which students reminisce about their best school experiences—they can email the videos to the talented video-editing class member, who selects the best ones and uploads them weekly
Encourage your school to set up a Zoom account that your class can use to join in:
- Events such as a virtual prom, virtual graduation ceremony, and virtual graduation party
- Weekly greeting sessions among class members to say “Hi” and check in
One benefit of a private Facebook page created specifically for class members is that it can provide a place for students to interact in real time. Here they can give critical updates about important events such as college acceptances, job offers, internships, and, for the older student, personal updates such as marriage proposals or news of babies on the way! That said, Facebook is a powerful means to keep class members connected, but it will only be so if the environment is free of negativity. For that reason, make sure to assign several page moderators to ensure that the page stays on topic and that no one who participates in the page gets bullied.
As for the class president or other designated class member sending weekly emails, one benefit is that such emails personalize the experience of keeping the class in touch. They also help ensure that most, if not all, class members receive special mailings, which in turn widens the net of fostering class loyalty.
The benefits of an application like YouTube include the following: Family members and other interested parties, not just class members, can watch the channel for commemorative videos of your class. Additionally, YouTube gives students a creative outlet to showcase their class memories. Last but not least, the channel can be up forever, allowing you and others to go back over the years to watch the content, almost like a virtual yearbook.
As for Zoom, it is a great option because it can allow class members to meet in real time and hold virtual events like the prom, providing some “in-the-moment” memories to cherish.
In these unprecedented times, we all have to be more proactive and get creative to maintain the ties that bind. If you’re a high school or college senior, the time to work on those ties is now.