By Alex Hutton
For many kids, senior year is the best year of high school. It’s their last year to spend time with friends, attend prom and graduation ceremonies. For the 2020 senior class their last year of high school has been cut short. Lexie Mancuso, the Spencerport High school senior class Vice President, is working to hope back to her class.
On March 19, Gov Andrew Cuomo announced that all schools in the state will be moving to distance learning, he recently announced they will remain closed for the rest of the year.
“When I heard we were moving to online classes I was really sad because we’re losing so much time together as a class and with friends and teachers,” said Lexie. “A week after they closed we were supposed to have a celebration for having 100 days left of high school, we couldn’t have that, we probably won’t be having a senior ball. No one knows what’s going to happen or what’s even allowed to happen. We’re not going to be able to have a graduation ceremony like everyone else. It’s definitely very sad because we’re losing out on so much”.
Lexie’s mother, Nancy Mancuso is part of the committee to plan graduation and honor the senior class. Spencerport holds their graduation ceremony at Brockport’s Special Event Recreation Center (SERC). The SERC has canceled all events before July 12 and the ceremony was scheduled for June 26.
“Now that the plans have changed we need to start thinking of how this will work and for the most part, our hands are tied. We can only do what’s approved by Monroe County and the Ogden Police Department,” said Mancuso. “We will do the best we can once we are given the restrictions we are working with, which still aren’t 100% determined because we don’t know where we will be in terms of the virus come June.”
One possibility for an in person graduation is to have a parade where students and their parents can drive past their elementary school and wave to teachers before making their way to the high school. Ideally they would cross a stage, be given a diploma, take a photo and return to their cars.
The committee is working to figure out how to make the graduation ceremony special even if it isn’t allowed to be held in person.
“If graduation had to be virtual I would be really sad. You see everyone else, they have these huge ceremonies with all the kids, the parents and families, and we would have to sit at a computer and just watch and hear our names called instead, I would be really upset about that,” said Lexie.
Planning graduation isn’t all the committee is working on. They are coming up with plans to honor the senior class and show them they have the support of the community. The committee has rolled out a program where any family, business or person in the area can drop off a goody bag to the school. Once they have collected enough bags for all 300 students, the committee will hand deliver these gifts to the seniors to raise their spirits and let them know the community is cheering them on.
The committee isn’t the only one dedicated to honoring the seniors, as part of the student government, Lexie along with 30 other students have worked hard to put together a video with a positive message to be sent to all the seniors as well as the rest of the community.
Lexie is also working solo on a project to lift up the senior class.
“Every year kids wear their college t-shirts to school on decision day, May 1,” said Lexie. “This year, we won’t be able to celebrate together or really even see where everyone is going to school. I saw the idea of a social media page showcasing the seniors and their post high school decisions so I took it and ran with it.”
Lexie made an Instagram account showcasing the 2020 Spencerport seniors and their college decisions. With the help of school administrators she promoted the page and has received submissions from over 100 seniors.
“I ask them for a photo, the school they will be attending and their major. I’m going to RIT next year for graphic design so this is right up my alley,” said Lexie. “I made the template and I swap things out for different kids. It’s a lot of fun to make and I’ve gotten so much positive feel back. It’s awesome to hear that kids in my grade, parents, teachers and even administrators are happy about it.”
Although her last year of highschool hasn’t gone according to plans, Lexie isnt letting it bring her down. She still tries to salvage the spirit of the senior class and honor them while they finish their last year of highschool remotely.