Dear Public,

As we all know, in today’s society, we as a nation are going through hardships. Together we are facing a global crisis. But it’s more than just that. What is it, you question? Glad you asked. Not only is it a global crisis, but it’s a human, economic, and social catastrophe. This sudden outbreak affects the structure of our population tremendously. As a student and teenager, I am a victim of COVID-19. You may wonder, what have I noticed most since this epidemic has impacted my normal program? Great question.

I’m currently a senior in high school. As a future graduate, my fellow classmates and I began the year with a dream. Performances, senior pictures, class rings, even ordering caps and gowns – we had plans, whether it was to go to prom or to walk across the stage to receive our diploma. All of the events that define our senior year are gone because of a new virus that no one saw coming. Graduates have been robbed this year. Something that kept us persevering and determined has been swiftly removed from our hands. We invested countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears into this year. Our lives have made a complete 180 in the last seven weeks. Our assignments have been moved online, and the interruptions caused by being in lockdown have made matters worse. Students have been affected, and it’s unfair, but we can’t do anything about it right now. I’m proud of myself nonetheless.

For the past three years, I’ve juggled my life, being a high school student and a college student at once. I’m a 17-year-old who was blessed to pursue an associate’s degree while getting my high school diploma, and for many reasons this school year has been stressful. The structure of our learning vanished with the blink of an eye. Classes became virtual, and in-person classes became unknown to mankind. I’ve faced technical challenges, limitations in feedback, and disconnection – with no engagement or interaction. The biggest obstacle was becoming used to the isolation. At least I can continue my education. I fear that the recent changes will be a roadblock in my preparedness for my freshman year of college, yet I believe it will become a motivation to see things through to the end.

Though this year, I won’t be able to wear my cap and gown and indulge in the experiences previous graduating classes have had, I am pleased and amazed at myself. I’m excited to attend Hunter College in September and know that what’s most important is that we’re here today. 2020 has started off as an unexpected year that no one ever wished for, but only we make light out of this situation and keep moving forward. Remember that even as we fight this pandemic, and we witness the deaths that are happening, all is not lost and no one’s losses count less. We matter. And now, seeing how this year has turned out, I realize that my classmates and I can withstand this challenge.



Nana Fofana is a senior at Hostos Lincoln Academy of Science in New York City. She participates in the Read Alliance program at Immaculate Conception School.