Throughout our lives, we have learned in school about pandemics and epidemics that have happened throughout history such as the black plague, small pox, yellow fever, polio, and the Spanish flu. We learned about them in school and the deadly impacts they had in society worldwide, but we never imagined what it would truly feel like to live in those times. I have started to understand what it must have felt like to live back then. The Covid-19 pandemic has tremendously affected us both physically and mentally.

The day Douglas County announced classes were going be online for a while, we were happy. We were all happy because we thought we would just have a two week break. Everything started going downhill from there. To our surprise, our return date started to get delayed more and more. The coronavirus started spreading rapidly and claiming lives, and the pandemic became more severe. It got to the point where Georgia’s governor said the remainder of the school year would be online. Just like that, in one swift move, my senior year was over.

Ever since my first day of high school, I have looked forward to my senior year. My brother was a Lithia Springs High School graduate and always told me epic stories of his senior year.

Since I was a freshman, I was already imagining how amazing my senior year would be. And for a while it was … my senior year started off amazing during cross country and swim seasons. Then soccer season came around, and I was named varsity captain in soccer, and I had never felt more proud. We were all so excited for senior night; we had so many plans, but it was all taken away.

In addition to missing out on the days at school, there is a big chance we will not have prom or graduation as planned. We are also staying away from our friends when we should be together. We should be creating high school memories that would last a lifetime.

This pandemic has taken an emotional toll on all of us. I am living with the constant fear that when I graduate, someone I love won’t be there to see me walk the stage. There is a chance my friends won’t be there to walk the stage and accomplish their dreams and goals. What hurts the most is that there is a chance my parents won’t be able to see me walk the stage. My parents are immigrants who moved to the United States from Mexico and sacrificed so much for my siblings and me. Their number one dream is to see all their children graduate from high school and walk across that stage because they could not.

Even though this pandemic has devastated us all, I am choosing to look on the bright side of things. My family is healthy and God has been good to us. My parents have been a great support and continue encouraging me to keep my hopes up that times will get better.

Living through this pandemic has taught me to value those around me and the time we have together. It has taught me to not take life for granted and live in every moment. Even with separating and isolating ourselves, we can still check up on each other and be there for one another. Even though my senior year has been cut short, I can still go back and reminisce on the life lessons I have learned at Lithia Springs from my teachers and friends. My coaches and school counselors have been so supportive in helping us get through this and let us know that we are not alone. Even though we are all social distancing they still find the time to check up on us and help us in anything we need.

My parents do not understand what goes on with applying to colleges and scholarships, and as a first-generation college student, it is up to me to figure it out on my own, but my counselor, Mrs. Perry, is always there for me and helps me through it. Even though our soccer season is over, our soccer coach, Mr. O’Brien, never stops letting us know how grateful he was for the opportunity of being our coach.

I am forever grateful for all the mentors I have had at Lithia Springs High School. My years at Lithia are over, and it is time for me to move on, but I will always be a Lithia Lion at heart.