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Alone Together: Stories Of Social Distancing — High School Seniors

Photo illustration of a person in a graduation cap and gown talking on a smart phone screen
Renee Bright
With schools closed and students learning from home, high school seniors are left without many of their traditions and leaves many students unsure about what their next steps will look like. A few of them shared their stories with KUER.

In late March, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert closed public schools until May 1 to help slow the spread of coronavirus. And for high school seniors, that meant year end traditions, like prom and graduation, were up in the air.

We wanted to hear from a few seniors about what they’re doing to celebrate their final moments in high school and how they’re handling the unknowns of life after graduation. Here are some of their stories in their own words. 

Gracee, Tooele High School

As a high school senior, Gracee said missing out on senior week, lighting the ‘T’ in Tooele and other traditions are what hits home the most.

“There’s a lot of things that I just didn't really think I was gonna take for granted that much. I was grateful for the opportunities and tradition but now that I don't have the opportunity to participate in them I realize how much they get overlooked and how grateful I am for those opportunities because now I don't have them.”

Luke, Lone Peak High School

Luke didn’t think graduation was really that big of a deal, so not walking doesn’t bother him. But he did find a special girl to take to prom and with a chance of that not happening, he’s trying to figure out how to make the best of it. 

“For prom, I feel like that’s a super huge part of my high school career. And I already asked a girl, and I’m just going to take her on a date. We’ll dress up in our originally planned prom suit and dress and I'll take her out to dinner and do a really fancy day date.”

Parker, Corner Canyon High School

Parker’s concerns are about what happens after school. He hasn’t been able to work and that’s affected how he might pay for school.

“I haven’t had a job since December and now with $97 in my bank account I’m worried about how to afford college. Luckily my parents' jobs are stable and I have a scholarship to the University of Utah, so that takes some weight off my shoulders.”

Emory, Academy for Math Engineering and Science

Emory finally had the chance to celebrate finishing high school by leaving the country. But COVID-19 put a quick, hard stop to that. 

“It’s been four years coming just trying to leave the country. I was going to go on a European backpack trip and that was canceled within a week. I was accepted into a program that was going to let me go to Turkey and that was also canceled and was fully paid for by the government.” 

Viviane, Academy for Math Engineering and Science

Viviane was really looking forward to the end of year festivities and wrapping up their high school career. 

“I’m just really angry at the world. I'm angry at the people who are making selfish decisions because their decisions affect my life. I just hope people stay inside for the better.

This is part of KUER’s series Alone Together: Stories of Social Distancing.

Next, we want to hear from first responders. How safe do you feel in your job right now? Are you and your team responding to every call? Call us at (801) 609-1163 and leave us a message. Thank you.

Ross Terrell is the managing editor at KUER.
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