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  • Melody Cai

Senior year draws high school to an end, despite three turbulent years

Peace has finally come.

As the chaos of the pandemic winds down, the class of 2023 is finally able to have a normal—but last!—year of high school. Navigating through a cut-off freshman year, a nonexistent sophomore year, and a junior year teetering between conventional and abnormal, senior year is a beacon of hope.

One word comes up the most when the senior class are asked about their goals: fun. Daniela Fernández exemplifies the mood: “To have a good balance between school work and play.” Echoing this sentiment, Misha Lauer brings a sense of optimism as she says, ‘My goal is to have the most fun I have ever had and take in the people and surroundings before I leave.” Jane Giza concurs, “To live in the moment and enjoy the time I have here.”

When asked about the pandemic's effect on their experience at Stevenson, Ara Traina explains, “I missed basically all of sophomore year so I didn’t get a chance to experience things like Expo. When I look back at my high school experience there is just going to be a giant gap in the middle. I feel like sophomore year is such a pivotal point in high school because it is a super important time for growth and development.” Curtis Da Silva adds, “Freshman year and sophomore year you didn’t really get that typical high school experience. I don’t know if it is in a positive or negative way but it was definitely tough.”

Others take a more optimistic approach to the missing year. Leo Xie shares, “During COVID, I had to wake up at 4 am to attend classes but it was also good because I ended at 8:30 so I had the whole day off. It was like the weekend every day.” Fernandez adds, “Doing a lot of online tests instead of in-person was great. And missing out on dances. I hate dances.” Lauer adds a different lens, saying: “I became closer to my friends. We made more of an effort to stay connected because we were all alone going through the same thing. We were closer when we came back and got to be together.” Yu thoughtfully concludes, saying: “That’s just what happened and there’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t like regretting things.”

This year’s senior forum group performing at 9th Grade Retreat.

Reflecting on their experience, the seniors share cherished moments of their life here. Lydia Yu says, “I really liked the Yosemite backpacking trip. I do enjoy planning Dorm Olympics and running around.” Da Silva adds, “I do enjoy going to games. Whether it’s football or volleyball or water polo, those are always really fun.”

Some favorite moments shared are more intimate. Giza enjoys the everyday routine: “The little things. Eating lunch with people and just hanging out.” Traina recalls one experience: “In the spring of sophomore year when we finally came back. It was me and fifteen other people and we were with Mr. Maharjan (if you know, you know). He brought his guitar and we started singing together for like an hour and a half. Granted, none of us were good singers, but it was still a nice moment and made me realize how much I missed out when I wasn’t here.”

Xie shares a particular moment of community: “I am not a believer in God, but when we all say ‘Amen’ after the end of the school prayer there’s magic to it. It’s not the power of faith, but rather a collective group at a specific place all believing in the same values.”

When asked to summarize their high school experience so far, Yu concludes with the words: “Weird. Interesting. Transformative.” Fernandez aptly states: “Anxious. Scary. Love.”

As senior fall comes into full swing, predictions of the final year as a pirate arise. Traina thinks it will be “Unhinged. This is our last chance to make memories because we will never be in school with these people ever again so we might see some hidden sides from our classmates.” Lauer speculates: “I think my senior year will look like a lot of work and stress but through that keeping an uplifting mood. I’m excited to bond with the new 9th graders.” Da Silva adds, “I think that the second half of the year is going to be really fun. As a class, we can hopefully enjoy the last half of the year and spend time together doing fun activities.”

Xie concludes that he hopes senior year will be “Colorful. Bright. Warm. Not like a fire in your backyard, but exploding fireworks.”


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