The Class of 2020 and some heartily enthusiastic faculty members met together on a Wednesday night for a Q & A session. Mr. Looney started off with an intro, reminding us that he had not, in fact, starting the school year in August, ever thought to himself that it would be nice to implement Remote Learning at Hawken this year. Yet here we are. Then Ms. Samson began running through the updated plans on some important events that had been postponed -- or, god-forbid, cancelled. (Okay, just knocked on wood). Meanwhile, Dr. Jones replied to questions from the seniors in the chat bar. A few people muted and unmuted themselves across the flickering 6 pages of Zoom on my laptop screen embodying 138 members of the Hawken community. Thus, the strangest class meeting I ever attended, proceeded.
All important dates have been delayed till late summer. Seniors will end up graduating early, on May 15th through an “exciting” email, since Senior Projects are no longer a requirement, and it is assumed that everyone has already fulfilled graduation requirements. I can think of five students including myself who have already completed their Senior Projects during the fall intensive, but it was soon explained afterwards that (lucky us!), we are not required to take an intensive either! We can simply complete our last day of classes on May 8th and be done with high school forever. Slightly terrifying, but even more exhilarating. Commencement itself -- and our receiving of the diplomas -- will be delayed until Sunday, July 26th. Potential locations for Commencement include Severance and the Upper School itself. Turns out, delayed Prom might even end up being in the Shiv if the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame does not open by the date -- Friday, July 24th. Prom and after prom will still be for both juniors and seniors… or technically, seniors and Class of 2020 alumni.
Then other questions were thrown in the chat: online senior prank day, senior skip day, online gotcha? Mr. Looney said that as long as the senior prank did not frustrate our already-stressed teachers, we were free to do whatever we’d like. Other questions were raised about yearbooks, senior letters to self, and awards day, while side conversations popped up throughout, how is Dr. Jones doing, Renee Bischoff’s Gotcha prowess, Jonah Wooley’s prom dress, and a potential April snow day.
The fact that seniors are no longer required to take a spring intensive if they have fulfilled all graduation requirements continued to nag me long after the call. Should I drop my spring intensive? Should I pick up another project, or accept another teacher’s offer to be a TA in her new online intensive? Or should I just end my high school career much earlier, and in a much more anticlimactic way? My mind cannot fully comprehend the idea that I will be returning as an alum the next time I drop by Ms. Gilbert’s desk, walk past the cafe or college office (thank god that’s over), flinch instinctively as I enter the AC lobby holding food, and wave at Laurel, a classmate, a teacher. One of my friends pointed out that Hawken’s class of 2020 was supposed to be the first class ever to go through all four years in Stirn Hall -- and by some hilariously cruel turn of fate, we were obviously not.
A part of me is not ready to let go. But another part of me, to be honest, already has.