A Message to the Class of ’21

Jadyn Breitenbach

It’s no secret that when it comes to distance learning everybody ends up missing out on something, but this loss reaches a whole different level for the seniors. After watching the previous graduating class get robbed of their last few months of high school, it was near impossible to imagine anything worse. Now, it’s unknown if this year’s senior class will be able to return to Southwest at all to say their last goodbyes to the teachers and students that have surrounded them these last four years. I decided to interview a few of my fellow seniors to get a better grasp on how this year’s graduating class has been affected by distancing learning as a whole. 


Some seniors actually prefer learning remotely. Isaac Kramer, a graduating senior, says that he thinks it sucks to not be able to see people and for missing out on some cool experiences, but overall he likes this system better than regular school. Kramer believes that in general each person has a lot more individual freedom in distance learning, as students are allowed to decide what to do and when. Another graduating senior, varsity volleyball captain Bella Walsh, feels similarly on the topic. She says she really likes online school because it gives her the time to focus on herself and do things for her mental health such as go on frequent walks. Walsh was able to partake in a short season for her final year of Southwest volleyball, a luxury not all athletes may get to experience this school year. However, because of Covid-19 restrictions, the team was only allowed to compete against conference teams which she describes as “not super competitive”. Walsh said her team tried to make the most of the experience, despite ending three weeks early, but it was upsetting that she was unable to create a strong connection with her team in such a short period of time. However, both Kramer and Walsh agree that they enjoy distance learning much better than the traditional form of school.


Other seniors such as Emma Knutson, a senior student ambassador, have contrasting views than both Kramer and Walsh when it comes to online learning. She thinks teachers are trying their best to make things work, but believes it is extremely hard to foster any community or connection online. Knutson feels that it’s super isolating to sit in your room all day by the computer screen. She describes her thoughts perfectly when she says; “It is super saddening and isolating to be spending my last year of high school online. I know it’s because it’s not safe to go back and I completely recognize that and it’s not really anything the school can fix, but from a senior’s perspective it is a little disheartening to know that this just might be it.” She wishes people were being updated by the district more often because it feels never ending. Knutson optimistically hopes that there is some type of in-person learning while we move towards quarter four, to at least get the opportunity to meet her teachers and say goodbye to the people she may never see again.


Whether you’re the type of person that is genuinely enjoying distance learning, or misses in person learning more by the day, it is generally agreed by all that remote learning has its issues. These problems span from never getting the opportunity to see your classmates’ faces, to complications such as persistent migraines that can emerge after hours spent staring at a screen. No matter what your views are regarding remote learning, just know you are not alone and your voice should be heard. Contact administration, email your teachers assigning too much homework, or even turn on your camera and see if others will follow your lead. These are unpredictable times we are going through right now so as seniors, we should try our best to leave behind a better education system for the classes following us. We will get through this and we will eventually see each other again, but until then let’s create some much needed change.