Student Story: High School Seniors Feeling Effect From Closed Schools

By: Thomas E. Edmund, Jr.Gateway Regional High School

WOODBURY HEIGHTS, N.J. — In this unrivaled period of quarantine and uncertainty for the foreseeable future, various students in the senior class have expressed their feelings of sadness as they try to continue forward in this disheartening time. Some of those students have provided unique perspectives.

Since starting at Gateway, Joey has been involved in all the musicals, as well as the Mr. Gateway contest. Mr. Gateway is a contest with students from grades 9 through 12 competing in a variety show-type competition. Joey stated, “I have dedicated a lot of my time towards both and I’ve been looking forward to doing both my senior year since I started Gateway.” He is particularly upset that senior prom and the trip are possibly going to be cancelled. Senior year is supposed to hold so much and be the best year of high school. “Our prom and trip are supposed to be some of the best times of the year, and it’s sad that they have to be put on hold,” said Joey as he tries to remain positive that all of these special events can still take place.

Kyle Marchek is a member of Gateway’s award-winning Marching Band. He is upset that he and the crew will not be able to compete in Wildwood for one last time. For Marchek it is harder to get his school work done in the virtual world.  “I hate it with a passion and lost all motivation after the first week,” he said. He spends his time being quarantined playing Minecraft, reading Naruto (a Japanese manga/anime series) and going “absolutely bonkers.”

One of the clubs offered at Gateway is FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America); of which Keri Wood is a member. Wood has been Chapter President for three years, “and her last chance to achieve her goal and attend the National Leadership Conference.” Wood was excited to welcome many new members to the local chapter who expressed an interest in attending the conference. She believed that the 2020 conference was going to be the best yet. 

As Wood walks through her home, “she sees projects that should have been completed and it really upsets her.” Wood, like Marchek, dislikes online learning and feels that her motivation and attention span have decreased significantly. Wood was deciding between two colleges, but due to the pandemic, campuses were closed, and she expressed, “I’m worried that I will regret my choice.”

Gateway offers their seniors the opportunity to attend RCSJ (Rowan College of South Jersey) and obtain dual credit for select courses while also spending time in high school. One of the seniors that took full advantage of this opportunity was Danielle Smith. She said, “It’s a very strange feeling that we have to do schoolwork online.” To her, it is definitely different having to do schoolwork at home rather than in a classroom setting. Smith is heartbroken to think that senior prom could possibly be cancelled; she would prefer it to be postponed. Like most senior girls going to prom, Smith states “hair and makeup appointments have been scheduled and would be very difficult to reschedule.”

Seniors are hoping that this year’s activities can still happen. Although COVID-19 has dampened spirits, all remain hopeful. 

Thomas E. Edmund, Jr., “TJ”, is a senior at Gateway Regional High School in Woodbury Heights, NJ and an intern at After graduation, he will be attending Rowan College of Southern New Jersey to begin his quest to become a journalist. 

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