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Graduating seniors look back at an unforgettable year

The class of 2020 had to adapt to many changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Beth Dowling, a 2020 graduate of Picayune Memorial High School, said the most difficult thing for her was not being able to finish her softball season.
“It was very hard not knowing the last game was the last one,” Dowling said. “Softball has been a part of me since I was about 5-years-old.”
Dowling will be attending the University of Mississippi where she will major in exercise science. She said her college orientation will be conducted virtually due to COVID-19.
“The Lord has a plan in everything He does,” Dowling said. “This isn’t stopping anyone, but opening doors. It’s a bad thing and a hard thing, but the Lord has a plan.”
Sara Morris is a 2020 graduate of Pearl River Central High School. For Sara, the biggest change she had to adapt to was not attending classes. Morris had maintained perfect attendance up until schools closed.
“I really enjoyed school,” Morris said. “Not knowing what was ahead was unsettling.”
Morris will be attending Pearl River Community College for summer classes. Her college orientation will also be virtual.
She said she didn’t know her last day of high school would be her last.
“Don’t take for granted what you have,” Morris said. “You never know when it will end.”
Anna Powell is a 2020 graduate of Pearl River Central High School. Powell said she missed a lot of senior experiences due to the pandemic.
Powell said one experience she wishes she could have had was Senior Prank Week.
“I’ll never get to go back and redo them,” Powell said.
Though her prom was canceled, Powell was able to attend a prom held at home with only a few students in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. School administrators hope to reschedule prom for a later date this summer.
Powell said she is a social person, so it was a challenge not being able to see the people she cares about everyday in class.
She said the class of 2021 will have a lot to live up to when it comes to Senior Skip Day.
Jorge Alcántara is a 2020 graduate of Pearl River Central High School.
Alcántara said he had to adjust to not having a set routine when schools closed.
“It feels more isolated,” Alcántara said.
As a social person, Alcántara said he struggled with having to stay home and not be able to go out and see his friends.
The college admissions process has changed for many students because of COVID-19-related closures and other difficulties.
Alcántara said the college admissions process has become more difficult because there are not always people in an office to help and answer questions.
Alcántara will be attending Pearl River Community College where he will study technology engineering.
“Don’t take any moments for granted,” Alcántara said.
Kelsey Marie Landry is a 2020 graduate of Pearl River Central High School. The hardest thing for her was not having a daily schedule.
Landry said she had to put more effort into her classes when schools closed.
“The teachers had to change how they taught us,” Landry said.
Landry said that although she missed a lot of experiences, such as prom and Senior Breakfast, she is grateful for the memories she was able to make with friends and teachers.