How Seniors Feel about Graduation in 2021


Photo Courtesy of @mamaroneck_public_schools on Instagram

A senior and their family drive in the senior car parade past cheering MHS staff members.

Sarah Colbert, Op-Ed Page Director

High school graduation is always a momentous transition. For some, it’s a time of excitement; for others, it’s a time of apprehension. Many seniors go on to college, often living away from home for the first time ever. Others might take a gap year, which could encompass work, travel, or other adventures. Still others may go right into the workforce. Regardless, most seniors have one thing in common, and that is that the comfort and stability of the past years in high school is coming to an end. As exciting as future prospects may be, the unknown can also be anxiety provoking. 

Add to this a global pandemic. This year has been a year unlike any other. Along with the rest of the world, the Mamaroneck High School community had its world turned upside down by the pandemic. And in particular, Mamaroneck High School seniors have had their last year of high school changed in ways no one could have imagined before March 13, 2020. In some ways, perhaps the tumultuous and restrictive nature of this senior experience may be making it easier for seniors to close this chapter and look ahead to the next stage of life. For others, it no doubt has been harder because they missed out on certain senior rituals and traditions, such as homecoming and traditional prom, which were cancelled due to COVID.  

For most, though, graduation is bringing a combination of feelings. This is best summed up by Amelia Silvestro (‘21) who explains, “Overall it’s kind of bittersweet since I am excited for what comes next but sad to move on too.” Of course, there are positive emotions that a senior feels during this time. “I’m excited to move on and go to college. I’m also excited to go to graduation, and celebrate with my whole grade that we made it to this milestone together,” articulates Silvestro. However, even with all of the positive emotions, there are negative emotions linked to this time as well. “I’m feeling excited but also sad to be graduating and leaving MHS. It also makes me sad because it feels like I am finishing off a chapter in my life, and I’m going to be surrounded by new people and new teachers and have to say goodbye to what I’ve known for most of my life,” acknowledges Silvestro. 

Similarly, Caitlin Ausili (‘21) states, “It’s scary to know that I have to leave my family and friends and branch out on my own but it’s also exciting to move on to the next chapter in my life and meet new people while knowing I’ll always have the great connections I’ve made at MHS including lifelong friends.”

The unique challenges faced by MHS seniors this year will no doubt create a special bond among them which will be remembered for years to come. The class of 2021 – a senior class like no other – braved hybrid school, Zoom classes, rotating schedules, face masks, quarantines, and many other adaptations necessitated by COVID. Although things were different, seniors persisted and met or exceeded expectations.  They completed their required studies, participated in extracurriculars and sports, and rallied for causes they were passionate about. Now, as graduation approaches, MHS will be celebrating not only the completion of high school for these seniors, but the resilience and grit which they showed by completing high school in 2021.