North Texas Graduating High Schoolers Share How They Got Through Year Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Brooke Rogers had a Zoom discussion with the seniors.

Video Transcript

- One of the groups most affected by COVID have been students, especially high school seniors. CBS 11's Brooke Rogers sat down with members of the class of 2021 from across North Texas to find out how they've handled loss, disappointment, and a year no one expected.

BROOKE ROGERS: One year ago they were high school juniors, anticipating spring break and their final year of high school. And then everything changed.

EMILY FARR: It's crazy to think it's only been a year because it's honestly felt like a lot longer.

AVERI HEARD: It's really been a roller coaster of emotions, just having everything weigh on your mental health and kind of getting into some depressive states that you don't want to be in, as well as having to do work.

BROOKE ROGERS: The class of 2021 learned to lead through dashed dreams of senior traditions.

AVERI HEARD: My school most likely will not have a prom. We don't know where our graduation is going to be. It's honestly really sad and really disheartening that we won't get to experience what our parents experienced.

EMILY FARR: Some moments have been better than others and some things have still felt normal, but at the same time, there's been bad days and things that we've had to miss out on our senior year, which is very upsetting.

BROOKE ROGERS: But they've also learned to accept unpredictability.

MASON HAYS: You go into to the day not knowing who's going to get bumped for quarantine and who's going to miss this day.

BROOKE ROGERS: Let's talk about virtual school, which is something that prior to a year ago, nobody, I'm assuming, had experienced before. How would you describe what that piece of this experience has been like?

AVERI HEARD: You just have to take it day by day, and just make sure that you're being kind to yourself and realizing that some of the goals that you had two years ago are not going to be there. You're just not going to be able to reach those goals this time.

BROOKE ROGERS: At times, they say, they even embrace this new hybrid world.

SHASHANK ISWARA: I'm still able to do all the things that I like doing. I'm still able to play music and I'm still able to talk with my friends, whether it be virtually or occasionally in person.

BROOKE ROGERS: They juggled college applications in isolation, sometimes daunting tasks that are now bearing fruit.

AVERI HEARD: Getting acceptance letters has been super exciting, and so just knowing that the work that you've been doing is paying off and that people are seeing you.

BROOKE ROGERS: And while they may have missed out on a typical senior year--

SHASHANK ISWARA: It's just the small social interactions that I have with friends, like at the lunch table or in the hallways.

BROOKE ROGERS: --they each say there have been silver linings.

EMILY FARR: I started getting creative and I liked to draw things and paint things, which I had never done before.

SHASHANK ISWARA: I started reading more since I had a lot more time to do stuff.

MASON HAYS: You can hop on a Zoom and you're there in 10 minutes instead of having to drive somewhere.

BROOKE ROGERS: They also gained an education outside of the classroom that may outlive what they learned inside.

EMILY FARR: I've learned a lot of lessons, but the biggest lesson I've probably learned was probably to just not take anything for granted.

AVERI HEARD: I guess that family is really important. And when you can, take the time to be with them and learn from them and just love them, even when this is over and you can go out every day and go wherever.

MASON HAYS: Enjoying those game nights and those movie nights with your family and enjoying those home-cooked meals and sitting around the dinner table for hours just laughing and talking. I don't think that that's something I'll keep with me forever.

BROOKE ROGERS: Brooke Rogers, CBS 11 News.

- Got to keep in mind the positive.