Last Semester of High School: A Deeper Look

Jessica Arellano and Monica Luna

Downey’s 2022 seniors  have been fortunate enough to have a senior year without any shutdowns, compared to the class of 2020 and 2021. With this being their last year of high school, many seniors at Downey High School are trying to make the most of their last high school years.

  Coming back to school during a pandemic has not been easy, but seniors like Abigail Bonillas are making the most their year., “I’m satisfied with how it’s been so far because I’ve been able to do the sport I love, even if there are some precautions I’m grateful to even be doing it at all.”  Like Bonillas, many senior athletes had their previous seasons altered due to Covid-19, but are making up for their lost seasons in 2022. With there being almost 4 months left of their senior year, there are still events  to look forward to, “I’m looking forward to senior sunset with my friends. It’s one of the last events we will be able to do together before graduation,” Bonillas said. Bonillas is hopeful for the rest of her senior year, but like most seniors on campus, they still face challenges, “The biggest challenge has been trying to juggle school, Covid, sports, and college admission things all at the same time.” Despite the challenges of being a senior, many find this year as a time of fun and enjoying the last moments of your high school career.

Seniors everywhere are still in shock as to how fast things played out. One day they were sophomores who were getting a two week break for the safety of the students, staff, and faculty of Downey Unified School District and the next they were seniors at their last first day of high school a year and a half later. Angelina Thu acknowledges this sense of shock by saying, “Honestly, I’m still in the state of denial that I’m a senior with only two full years of high school. Everything went by so fast. It’s hard to grasp onto the present.” 

With this being the modern situation for seniors at Downey High, it left many nervous for what’s to come after high school. “It’s nerve wracking knowing I have only 4 months left because that’s when life really starts. Adulthood. And I can never know how things can turn out for myself,” said senior Natalie Ceron. Hopeful with the four months she has before adulthood, she stated “Even though adulthood is around the corner, I’m still going to make the most of my time at Downey by including myself in everything there is, going to different events, and continuing to be involved. I’m still going to have fun and not stress too much about after high school just yet.” With this point in time being an awakening to some seniors, it’s a time to reflect on how far they have come, “I think freshman me would look at senior me and be proud. I think my freshman self would be proud of how far I’ve come, where I am, figuring things out, and becoming who I am now despite being in a pandemic.” As seniors like Ceron come into a state of realization that after high school comes adulthood, they still make time to enjoy the time they do have left before they leave high school. 

Many seniors are looking forward to making up for lost time, as many missed out on many athletic opportunities their sophomore and junior year. Senior cross country captain and track and field runner, Yasfren Valenzuela uses his lost seasons as motivation to make his last season memorable. “It sucks that we didn’t get to finish our track season sophomore because we were all just starting to pop off, ” stated Vanlenzuela. “My goal is to make it to CIF Finals and hopefully state after for this upcoming track season” with this feeling of needing to accomplish what he couldn’t do because of covid and distant learning for a year and a half; “Even though we got left out of the season we made up for it during Track season becoming League Champions once again.” Even with accomplishments like Yasfren’s, he still feels like the time he lost makes the athletes of his senior class different than any other.