COVID-19 Forces Seniors to Adapt


Senior girls attending movie night.

Elle MacDonald, Reporter

In a year turned upside down, the class of 2021 has faced many disappointments. From Zoom school to missing a final homecoming, seniors have been forced to sit back and watch what should have been meaningful moments in their final year of high school wash away.

In an attempt to salvage as much of the senior year experience as possible, Novato High leadership and the Friends of 2021 group have spent countless hours coming up with COVID-friendly senior surprises, gifts, and events. 

Unfortunately, with the safety and well-being of everyone as the top priority, many standard events had to be canceled. While homecoming was cut, Novato still hosted a homecoming court and allowed for the school to go through the nominating experience as best they could. 

With a live-streamed crowning ceremony allowing no in-person spectators, it was certainly not your standard celebration. 

“I would definitely say that it didn’t have as much excitement as previous years, but I think we still made the most out of what we could do,” said homecoming queen nominee Ava Scafani.   

Despite the school’s best efforts, many were left greatly disappointed with their final year, including senior Lauren Picardi. 

“So many things have been robbed from us seniors, it’s sad,” said Picardi. “It makes me wish I had appreciated the things I took for granted at the time, like rallies, dances, and bonding with my class.”

However, good news is on the horizon. 

On May 11th Novato High hosted their first in-person senior event. Seniors gathered together on the football field for the first time since March of 2020 for a movie night showing Marvel’s hit Black Panther

With this taste of normalcy came a feeling of hope for seniors as they look toward the end of their year. 

And for many, their hopes were answered. Two key elements of the senior experience are in the making, a COVID-adapted prom-style event and an in-person graduation ceremony. 

These events will both be held outdoors at the school with limited attendance and modified elements to ensure that attendees stay safe. 

The Senior Banquet will be a come-together celebration of the achievements the senior class has made for themselves. The night will include a slideshow and recognition for valedictorian nominees as well as senior standout winners, complete with catering and events to occupy the night. 

Senior class Vice President Katie Sullivan has been proactively fighting for and planning senior events to end the year. 

“After all the class of 2021 has been through, I’m grateful that we even have the opportunity to plan a senior event in place of prom,” said Sullivan. “I understand why 2020 wasn’t able to have prom, but after all the progress we’ve made with COVID, I think it would be a shame to default to the same policies as last year.” 

Since the adapted drive-through graduations of last year, the class of 2021 had been holding their breath awaiting news as to how their own ceremony would go down. 

The 2021 graduating class is expecting a full in-person graduation. Depending on the guideline circumstances in the weeks leading up to June 11th, each student is expected to get two to four guests, barring out-of-state travelers. Students will presumably be masked and distanced throughout the 10 a.m. ceremony, but being in-person is celebration enough.