By: Amy Morrison
When the school transferred to virtual learning at the end of last year, many juniors breathed a sigh of relief thinking “Thank goodness we’re not seniors this year.” But going into the 2020-2021 school year it’s looking like the seniors now may be getting a very similar experience to the class of 2020. Now obviously it’s just a set of unfortunate circumstances and no one’s really at fault. But fear not class of 2021 because the school is trying their best to give the seniors a great last year, which they kicked off with the senior sunrise.
The senior sunrise took place on Wednesday, September 23 in the parking lot behind the math building. By 6:30 seniors had started to make their way into the parking lot in their cars. All cars were directed to the parking lot and shown right into their spots by ASB and admin spaced around the parking lot. A large screen had been set up so that TigerTube could project a slideshow and livestream to watch at the same time as the sunrise. Every car was given a QR code when they drove in so they could access the projection from their phones as well. Pre packaged donuts were offered as a snack upon arrival for those who wanted some breakfast while watching the sunrise.
The whole thing, while socially distanced, COVID safe, and organized, was still fun and engaging. The livestream started as a slideshow of pictures of the class of 2021, mostly at school events or dances. It then switched to a live showing of the school’s admins, such as Ms. Yaung, Mr. Louie, and Mrs. Umekubo, and ASB representatives who gave inspiring talks about perseverance in these trying times. There was a fairly large turnout with all of the spots behind the math building taken up, making 30 or so cars present at the sunrise. The event was gradual, as sunrises tend to be, and so it came as a surprise when Mrs. Stouffer told us all the event was over and began to usher the cars out of the parking lot. Although bittersweet, it was undeniable that the sun was up and the senior sunrise was over.
Despite it being a much different experience than most of the seniors expected it to be, it was fun for most attendees. Eva Bashta stated that while it was short it was “nice to experience with the rest of the seniors.” That seems to be the general consensus from most seniors. Giselle Morales also said that “the senior sunrise was a thoughtful and appreciated experience that Valencia was willing to give us! It was a great feeling like we are still part of this together, despite being virtual as of right now.”
Giselle makes a good point as to why the senior sunrise was so good for so many. It gave much needed contact with other people, even if it was through the windshields of cars. Contact is what is missing from most students’ lives, especially now when school should physically be in session with the students mingling as they normally do. But from the success of the senior sunrise and the school’s dedication to giving the class of 2021 an amazing year, the seniors can count on a memorable, if a little different, final year at Valencia.