Students React to School’s Decision to Stay Online for the Rest of the Year

VictoryBellNorthwood Head of School, Mr. Michael Maher, recently announced the extension of online learning through the remainder of the school year. Read Mr. Maher’s statement here.

Students are disappointed with the decision but understand the school is doing what is best.

Robert Renner ‘21 said, “I’m sad to see this school year end like this. I am in my junior year of high school, and I’ve been to three different high schools. I can say my time at Northwood has been by far the best of my high school experience. I can’t do much about this whole situation except look forward to the Northwood experience I’ll have next year.”

Jazlyn Lluberes ‘23 said, “I can’t believe the school year had to end so quickly. I was excited to experience my first spring trimester at Northwood since everyone says it’s the best time of the year.”  Haley Donatello ‘21 agreed. She said, “I was sad when Mr. Maher made it official.”

But students acknowledged that the decision was inevitable. Patrik Bruna ‘22 said, “It’s very unfortunate that Northwood closed, but I think it’s right to keep students safe.” Ben Norton ‘22 supported the school’s decision. “The school did the right thing because the virus is getting increasingly worse all around the world. I’m fortunate that I get to go back to school next year.”

Mr. Maher’s video to the Northwood community touched others’ hearts as well. “When I watched the video from Mr. Maher, I got so sad. I just feel like the last time everyone at Northwood was together, all we did was talk about online classes. There should have been one last meeting to address what would happen if we didn’t come back. I can’t imagine how the seniors feel,” Addie Castillo ‘21 said.

Johnny Cielo ‘21 also sympathized with the seniors. “It’s going to be hard for the seniors to not be able to go back next year to see their friends, experience Winter Carnival and spring sports, and just be in Lake Placid as it warms up. I’m going to miss them. I hope they have an awesome future ahead of them,” said Cielo.

Seniors were devastated that the commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 was canceled. Zachary Ellsworth ‘20 said, “It’s extremely overwhelming to see my four years at Northwood end like this. I haven’t really been sure of how to react. I’m just sort of hoping that everything is a joke. I’ve worked so hard for these past four years. To see the best of my four years come to an end like this kills me. It almost feels like everything I’ve done in high school has been wasted. It’s a terrible feeling. I hope everyone can get together this summer at some point for a commencement ceremony because that is something that needs to happen,” Ellsworth added.

Other seniors were equally heartbroken. Emily Cairo ‘20 said, “When Mr. Maher mentioned the seniors in his video, I started crying. I’m not surprised that the year ended like this, but I’m still speechless.”

Nate Boak ‘20 said, “I know that this is for our safety, that it’s the best thing to do in a time like this. But it still sucks to not be able to walk across the stage.” Margot Rouquette ‘20 is not yet ready to bid farewell to her high school experience either. “High-school graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we’re all going to have to miss out on,” said Rouquette. “I’m sad that I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to everyone. We left too fast. I’m gonna miss Northwood more than anything,” she added.

Four-year survivors were most disappointed. Martin McDonough ‘20 said, “I think it’s absolutely heartbreaking that myself and all the seniors won’t be able to finish our senior year at school, the place a lot of us call home. Not being able to walk the stage on graduation day is frustrating, especially for us four-year survivors.”

Julia Geraldi ‘20 had a hard time accepting the truth. “Over the past month, it has taken me time to fully realize that school is over and I won’t be going back. I’m a four-year senior, so I was very disappointed that this is how my Northwood life will end. I hope this is for the greater good. I’m still in touch with friends and keeping up with school and workouts. Hopefully, I’ll get to head up to Lake Placid for one final goodbye.”

Braelyn Tebo ‘20 has also been at Northwood for her entire high school career. “When school went online in March, I was sad,” said Tebo. “But I was still holding onto the hope that we might come back at least for graduation. When we got the official announcement that we won’t be coming back, I felt like that hope for my senior year was lost. It was heartbreaking that I will never really get to say goodbye to the place I’ve called home for the past four years. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Northwood,” said Tebo.

As of now, the 2020 commencement ceremony is canceled. However, the school is planning ways to recognize the senior class and will keep students notified of any changes. The FAQ released with Mr. Maher’s announced said, “We know that the question of commencement is weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of our seniors and their families. Please know that this weighs heavily on our hearts and minds as well. While we will not speculate what such a ceremony will look like, we are committed to finding a way to honor the outstanding Class of 2020 and their achievements in ways that will include an event on campus at some point in the future that will include all members of the class of 2020 ringing the victory bell.”

The Mirror wishes the Northwood community dispersed across the globe the best of luck.  For more information and updates, please visit the COVID-19 webpage on Northwood’s website. 

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