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The remainder of their senior year was canceled; here's how they're handling it

Oregon Schools unexpectedly closed on March 16 for the rest of the school year in attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. Now seniors will miss events like prom, their last day of high school and potentially even graduation.

Students were excused from school on March 13 as usual, only to discover over the weekend that school would be closed until the end of spring break—adding an extra week of "free time."

It was on March 16 that restaurants, hotels and any gathering spot were closed, and self-quarantine went into effect. On April 8, Governor Brown extended school closures through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Colton seniors Kolby Benthin and Sophie Holden share some insight into how this affected their last year of high school.

From CHS senior Kolby Benthin:

COURTESY PHOTO - Colton senior Kolby Benthin."When I first heard of the closure, I had not yet fully grasped the severity of the virus or how it would change life across the world for many months. Suffice to say, I was not worried about the pandemic affecting the school year past spring break.

"The social distancing guidelines and stay at home order obviously affect my ability to see my classmates, friends, and loved ones. As far as school goes, many of my classes already had a heavy online presence, and the ones that did not have made a relatively smooth transition to online methods of learning.

"I have been able to stay busy largely due to taking care of my dog's litter of six puppies. It's been great to be able to spend so much time with them while quarantined.

"Only seniors that wish to complete dual enrollment classes for college credit or that were not passing a class before closure are required partake in online learning. Wishing to earn dual enrollment credit, I will be doing so.

"Having the latter half of our senior year taken from us is hugely disappointing. Not having the traditional 'senior slide,' and being able to enjoy and make the best of our last months in high school with the people we've been with for so long is heart wrenching. I hope, like some other schools have, CHS's class of 2020 can find ways to have our well-earned high school conclusion.

"I plan to attend college in Seattle in the fall, studying computer engineering. I hope COVID-19's impact is as minimal as possible on us seniors entering college and the workforce next year."COURTESY PHOTO - Colton senior Sophie Holden.

CHS senior Sophie Holden:

Colton High School senior, Sophie Holden, said when she went home from school on Friday, she did not see the surprise ending to her senior year coming.

"And just like that, my senior year was gone," she said.

Holden said the seniors were told that the grades they had on March 13 would be their final grades and they would not need to do distance learning. Although this does not apply to those taking online classes or who need to work on improving or finalizing grades. Holden is continuing her online college-credit psychology class.

"I am not doing much," Holden said. "I am painting a little, reading more, taking my dog on walks and I started watching episodes of Seinfield."

She added, "I am going to miss prom and the senior walk-through of the elementary school in our caps and gowns," Holden said. "But mostly I am going to miss graduation night."

Holden said she misses her classmates and knows they will all do great things with their lives.

"I am grateful for social media," she said.

Holden is heading to Oregon State in the fall with plans to major in marketing.

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