The Paw Print

Kayla Sakayan

Kayla Sakayan, Editor-in-Chief

Kayla Sakayan is the Editor-in-Chief of PawPrint. Since she is very passionate about law and politics, Kayla aspires to hone in on her interests and pursue a career in those fields in the future. Kayla enjoys conveying different ideas through her writing in order to keep her readers informed and encourage them to be active members of the world around them.

Some of her favorite pastimes include playing tennis, traveling to new destinations, spending quality time with friends, taking long walks on the beach, baking, and finding cute dogs to pet. Kayla is an avid coffee drinker and can always be found sipping her iced coffee no matter how cold it may be outside. She loves giving back to her community whenever possible, especially through her weekly volunteer shifts at Huntington Hospital.

All content by Kayla Sakayan
Picture this: you’re watching an incredible movie, and when there’s only 20 minutes left, it just randomly ends. The only way of finding out what happens to the characters is by reading the Wikipedia plot summary. Unfortunately, this abrupt ending to what should have been one of the best years of our lives is the Class of 2020’s new reality due to the far-reaching effects of COVID-19. Many of my fellow seniors and I can vividly remember that fateful Friday the 13th. It was a sunny, uneventful day when we received the call from Dr. Bernardo declaring that schools would be closed for one week. Soon after, the closure was extended several times by both our state and local governments until Governor Cuomo ultimately made the executive decision to close all New York schools for the rest of the academic year. A closure that was once welcomed as a break from the dreaded third quarter slump morphed into a crisis for not just our district, but for the entire globe. Uncertainty and a sense of overall anxiety paralyzed us all. Essentially everyone has been impacted by the Coronavirus, ranging from healthcare providers who put their own lives at risk each day to help others in need, to parents who must now become educators in addition to caretakers and breadwinners, to teachers who must completely adapt to an unprecedented system of online learning, to small children who now wonder why they cannot go to school or have playdates with their friends. For some Americans, COVID-19 has brought about immense feelings of loss due to the effects of illness and even death. For others, their grief may not be as profound, but the social losses felt by many have seriously impacted our mental health and well-being. This is especially true for the members of the senior class, forced to move onto the next chapter of our lives without the closure we yearn for and deserve. Second semester of senior year is often regarded as the best time in high school. At that point, students are finalizing their college decisions after years of putting in the hard work, picking out their prom dresses, receiving their yearbooks and having their closest friends and teachers sign them, watching VY with a twinkle of appreciation and nostalgia in their eyes, decorating their graduation caps, and simply enjoying the last few weeks of making memories before everyone goes their separate ways. COVID-19 has stripped these opportunities away from us. I’d like to be totally honest and convey how hard it is to find the motivation to continue with schoolwork when you have nothing to look forward to anymore. I miss my friends, my teachers, and just my normal life. I took the simplest pleasures such as getting coffee with my friends or going for a drive to the beach after the school day is over for granted. I really loved the freedom that came with being a senior; we all did. I think the adjustment to life in quarantine has been made more difficult because of the fact that Whitman feels like a second home to so many seniors. Our classmates and teachers have assumed the role of our second families. Our administrators and teachers care so much about us and worked tirelessly to give us the best Whitman experience we could ever ask for. Of course it’s customary to have your senior year end by taking pictures with your friends on commitment day, dancing the night away at prom and celebrating your achievements at graduation, but the circumstances just won’t allow us to. It is my hope that we will be able to reunite again soon and reminisce about all the amazing memories we had the privilege of making together. It’s safe to say that quarantine has made me realize that I should never take the people and places I love for granted again.
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The student news site of Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, NY.
Kayla Sakayan