PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The coronavirus pandemic has forced students in the state of Florida to move from the classroom to the dining room to learn. Distance learning has created some emotionally draining moments for students both across the state and the country. Those who perhaps feel it most though, are high school seniors.
On Saturday, when Governor Ron DeSantis announced all K-12 schools in Florida will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the school year, it threw a wrinkle into the potential plans for seniors looking forward to those traditional end of the year functions… things that only come around once in a lifetime like prom, graduation and senior skip day. The most coveted of them, the graduation ceremony, will likely either be canceled, postponed or drastically altered.
That’s left families struggling to find ways to celebrate their seniors and recognize them for their years of hard work.
In Trinity, one family found a way. They turned their garage door into a giant poster honoring the senior in their home.
Stacy Bowman said this time of uncertainty has been hard for both her and her daughter Ashlie, who is a senior at J.W. Mitchell High School.
“As a parent, I will admit this has been a very unsettling time,” she said. “My daughter has worked so hard to maintain a 4.25 GPA while taking all honors and AP classes throughout her high school years and now, the not knowing if… she will be able to experience the thrill of walking across the stage at graduation.”
On the garage door, you could find pictures of Ashlie with her friends and family members as well as letters from those closest to her and even some of her teachers.
“You have been one of the most dedicated and amazing psychology students this year!
It is rare that I come to expect a student to earn a 100 percent on every test, but you became that student who reliably scored at the top of the class.
I am amazed by your intelligence and work ethic, both of which seem to come with ease. You’re truly an amazing person with a bright future. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!
May your cognitions be forever rational, your self be actualized, and may your dreams be profound! Take care.”A letter from Ashlie’s AP Psychology teacher Mr. Burnes
While Ashlie has liked distance learning, Stacy said it has also been a “frustrating, weird and sad” time for her. The hardest part? Not being able to experience the end of year activities that most seniors get to experience.
Although it has been a difficult, Stacy said there are some bright moments.
“Cherish the times we have now with family now and always because once we get back to normal, life resumes and we unfortunately get so caught up in it that we unmistakably lose sight of what’s important.”
For other seniors going through the same thing, Stacy has one piece of advice.
“This is just one stepping stone that you will experience in life and if you stay strong we all will rise above and come out stronger.”
After graduating, Ashlie plans on studying astrophysics and astro engineering.
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