By: Chris Parris
The COVID-19 pandemic has been responsible for shutting down many locations within the past two months; malls, restaurants, businesses, and schools. For Hammond High School and other schools in Maryland, the last time we had regular classes was on March 13th. Everybody left school that day with the mindset that life was going to resume within a few weeks. But that wasn’t the case. School has been canceled for the rest of the academic year and all classes are now virtual.
Arguably, the students who have been impacted the most by the shutdown of schools are high school seniors. They left school before they got the chance to attend prom. They were robbed of properly saying goodbye to each other, teachers, counselors, coaches, and their underclassmen friends. Senior Week is a no-go. The seniors who were tied to Hammond Theatre’s production of The Addams Family were only able to participate in a preview and one show. But what’s most upsetting is that the seniors won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony. It will be streamed online. The graduating seniors at Hammond and other Howard County high schools won’t walk across that stage at Merriweather.
“Graduation is cancelled,” 12th Grader Olivia Harris said in an interview with WBAL-TV. “I’ve been working for twelve years. I will still graduate, but won’t get the same ceremony a lot of people look forward to.”
For the past two months, Hammonnd seniors have been upset and depressed about how COVID-19 has robbed them of the milestones that they were supposed to make. But in the midst of this stressful time period, something happened one day that lifted their spirits. On May 1st, all Hammond seniors gazed outside their windows to find a yard sign standing on their front lawn. The yard sign read “Hammond Class of 2020” at the top. Below it read “We love our seniors”.
Seeing those yard signs had a significant impact on the Class of 2020. “It was delightful,” 12th Grader Shay Oyeyemi expressed. “It showed that even though we weren’t able to have the type of graduation we wanted, our school still cared about us. That means we hold a special place in their heart.”
“I was actually surprised and happy!” 12th Grader Sharnay Omesh shared. “I got my family and I ran outside so I could start taking pictures with it.” It was a moment for the seniors and their families to celebrate; even if it was brief. Hammond seniors may be out of school, but they have not been forgotten!