I have a high school senior at home this year. This is not how she pictured her senior year ending.
Ela spent her fall semester working hard applying to universities, taking her ACT (just one more time), writing essays for scholarships, doing all of the homework required for four AP classes, tutoring to fill her national honors society service requirements, and preparing her storytelling piece for the forensics season. It was a tough and stressful fall semester but she knew that come this spring there would be much celebration and fun with all the typical final activities of senior year that would make all that hard work worth it.
And then in March, COVID-19 changed everything.
Initially it seemed possible that this was going to be a one or two week break for most students. My kids who are fortunate to go to schools that had online learning plans in place, had only one day off of school before their classes started meeting via video conferencing. Their daily Zoom classes have provided structure and an opportunity to see friends and classmates while still at home. But as the weeks have gone on Ela and her friends have begun to realize that this might be how school will finish. Everyone staying at home. No prom/senior banquet, no awards ceremonies, no graduations, no senior all-nighters.
But it is not just missing the big events that is disappointing to our graduates. It's the daily gatherings early at school before class, running into friends in the hallways, discussions during class, practicing with your team and hanging out with friends at the local coffee shop or a friends house after school. These ordinary, daily meetings with friends, teachers, and coaches are what so many seniors are missing most.
What do you miss the most about having school at home through Zoom meetings?
Ela: I miss not being able to hang out with my friends in person especially during lunch when everyone is around to interact with, and you can give people hugs!
What are you most disappointed about regarding your senior year?
Ela: Not getting to experience the traditions that go with the end of our senior year like senior banquet, the last day of school, the lock-in night.
How do you hope your senior year will end?
Ela: I hope that some of the events will be rescheduled like senior banquet so we can have that last time together before everyone goes off to university.
What is one thing you are grateful for during this time of social distancing /staying at home that's unexpected?
Ela: Having relaxing mornings that aren't so rushed and allow time for a cup of tea.
Ela received one of our prototype phone holders for Christmas, so she has been using and testing it for the past three months. We could have never anticipated how much this tool would be needed starting in March.
What do you think of your Heather Lane Pottery phone holder? What do you specifically like about it?
Ela: I love mine! I use it everyday. I like being able to set down my phone so I can FaceTime or watch a video while doing other things. I like that it is secure and holds my phone well. (for size reference she has an iPhone 11.)
Why would you recommend them?
Ela: I think they are really useful for kids my age because we so often FaceTime while doing homework or for me it leaves my hands free so I can draw.
How are they helpful during this unprecedented time?
Ela: Now that we have to FaceTime to interact with people, having a phone holder is even more convenient.
Do you think this will be helpful in college?
If you were to choose a personalized phone holder would you choose to have an initial or your name?
Ela: My initial.
What can you do?
During a year that has limited the ways our graduates can be recognized and celebrated for their achievements, help honor the graduates in your life. Send them a note of encouragement, give them a call or FaceTime them.
We have four specific handcrafted and personalized items for recognizing the graduates in your life. Our Grad Hat Ornaments, White Coat Ornaments. These can be personalized with names, year, high school and a message.
We also have our new phone holders the "Bee in Touch" and "Classic" . They come with the option of personalizing with an initial or name. You also can choose to put a message on the bottom that might include a school or program name and a year.