Four classes, one pandemic: Ongoing battle for the biggest pity party


Jessie Hernandez

Courtesy of Jessie Hernandez. A four-panel comic showcasing how each of the grades are doing as a result of many high school traditions and events being canceled, and just the reaction of how this year has started. The freshmen are wild and crazy, the sophomores are stuck being freshmen, the juniors are tired, and the seniors are depressed.

Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are all fighting for the gold medal of pity. Class presidents are trying to build school spirit, and the new school principal amidst all this has to get to know each and every student. All the normal high school events/traditions have been cancelled. 

No one is getting what they want. This has sparked a pity party war over which class is getting the shortest end of the stick. Participants in this mock conflict tussle over who can complain the loudest and drown out their peers.

Most of the arguments occur over popular social media apps like Twitter and TikTok. People debate in the comment section on TikTok videos. Who has it the worst?

At the end of the day, the Class of 2023 hasn’t even had one full year of high school yet. We are seriously about to be juniors. The Class of 2022 has only had one full year of high school and now they are about to be seniors The Class of 2021 only had two years of high school and they didn’t even get a senior year. The Class of 2020 missed graduation and 25% of their senior year.@parkerhellekson on TikTok

@niveakhondaker wrote, “I’m in class of 23 and I still feel like a freshman. The fact that we can’t explain high school that well to the class of 24 shocks me.”

@someonehere22 wrote, “I’m ‘22, I know we all have it bad but I feel so bad for ‘21. They didn’t even get a bit of senior year and are applying to college alone :(“

@ks_kreations2020 wrote, “Not to be that person but I seriously thought this ‘trend’ was over. Everyone who is saying that ‘my class got it worse’ needs to stop… Each class lost something, no one has it worse than the other. You’re all missing out on milestones in your high school years so stop gatekeeping.”

Every teen perceives this most important time of their life and it’s often the time to make mistakes and memories. Many upperclassmen are scared of leaving high school without the proper preparation.

Underclassmen are scared that they will never make any of the memories that older students have been granted with. Overall, everyone just wants validation for their own opinions. These arguments have heated up since the beginning of 2021.

On top of everything, class presidents have been doing everything they can to make this year better for all their classmates who are missing out.

Incoming freshmen enter an empty school

Class of 2024 member Legend Campbell said, “I do think freshmen are suffering the most because not only are we missing out on traditions, but we also won’t be able to ‘get to know the school,’ as in which way is the quickest to get to classes and even where classes are. We only know certain things due to Hybrid. Seniors are about to leave, so they don’t have too much to worry about. Sophomores and juniors have had the experience of high school.”

Each person has their own opinion, but it’s safe to say that Campbell said what most people, especially freshmen, are thinking. It’s scary not knowing the way around school. 

Courtesy of @Hanlon_FCPS on Twitter. Hallways that were once full of buzzing kids are now clear and marked for social distancing for the hybrid model. (Cindy Hanlon)

Each year, new freshmen are thrown into a new environment. However, past students were able to prepare with orientations, class tours, and back-to-school nights. This year, freshmen students were lucky enough to have a last minute ‘socially distanced’ orientation, and were given Linganore Lancer face masks as compensation.

Courtesy of @Hanlon_FCPS on Twitter. This face mask was given to the incoming freshmen this year. It is white with “Class of 2024” written on it in bold letters and the LHS school logo. (Cindy Hanlon)

The same can’t be said for other classes. Nevertheless, some freshmen are choosing to stay virtual the entire year and are hoping to start fresh as sophomores.

How does online learning affect freshmen? There have been mixed feelings regarding if online school really works or not. 

“My grades have gotten better since we have been online. However it is hard to meet new people,” said Campbell. 

Grades are a big part of online learning. It’s the most important thing to students now. 

“There are still academic opportunities; they are either online or are altered for safety. Traditions (pep rallies, homecoming, dress up days) are not going to work as well online. Yes, academic activities are more important than traditions, but traditions are nice,” said Campbell.

Some students don’t feel like they are getting the high school experience. Do freshmen and upperclassmen feel the same way? Do they think that competition should be in store for them?  

Campbell said, “We are essentially all working towards the same goal (graduation), so there should not really be any competition.”

Getting good grades and getting into a good college is almost everyone’s goal. Most students still think it’s not fair to freshmen if they don’t get the full high school experience. Everyone wants to go to parties, football games, and to show their school spirit.

New freshmen means new voices. The new Class of 2024 president is Grace Booth. She has new ideas, a new image, and new hope for the school. It’s exceptionally hard for new class leaders to be able to grasp the full concept of their job when they are not at physical school.

“If I’m being honest, I feel that I’m not as connected as I could be to the class, just because coming in as freshman, I don’t know everyone. Being online has definitely made it harder, but I still enjoy it because I get to work with many people and I love working with our awesome Vice President, Genesis Maldonado and our Secretary, Alexis Rich,” said Booth.

Being online definitely limits interactions with peers, teachers, and students. It’s hard to understand what the teachers want if face-to-face communication is restricted.

Booth said, “I feel like with being online, my duties for Class President aren’t as important as they could be. I still work on some things for our class and for the whole SGA, but not as much since quarantine. In a way, I think yes, we’ve been ‘snubbed,’ but I also think it’s been a learning experience for everyone, and it gave us a way to experience new things!”

Unlike upperclassmen, Booth has missed her entire first semester to really engage and connect with her class. This might cause a rift between her and her classmates when trying to understand their needs and wants.

Sophomores stuck in freshman year

Sophomores have had one year of high school, and everybody knows freshman year is never the best, especially when it’s cut short halfway through. 

Enter sophomore Sammy Polidoro. She was once a freshman who walked the halls of the school, until the pandemic started. Online school hit students hard, but it hit underclassmen much harder.

“It’s been difficult to stay focused on classes and difficult to keep up with a lot of people. You don’t get the same time with them as you do when going to school in person. It’s been hard to meet new people, and the same difficulty comes with staying in contact with old and new friends,” said Polidoro.

New friends that sophomores were able to make last year may have been lost due to the long separation period students had to withstand, and some bonds may not have survived. 

Sophomores are also expected to do better than their first year, however, some may still feel stuck as a freshman. Do they have sympathy for freshmen since they could be in the same boat? Also, does missing the traditions and activities change the whole experience?.

Polidoro said, “I think freshmen might suffer the most because they are coming into a new environment through online instead of being in school. I think some high school traditions are fine to miss, since not all of them are too important or go so well. I believe everyone should keep the academic opportunities they would’ve gotten from being in school since it will help them in their future more than high school traditions.” 

It seems that the sophomores might have an alliance with the freshmen, however they didn’t get special masks either.

“Some level of competition is inevitable and most of it tends to be justified,” said Polidoro.

Sophomores at least had a chance to experience a few first time events as freshmen, however, they might be shifting their gears already to prepare for the academic hardships of junior year, since they have nothing to look forward to now. 

The sophomore Class President, Hannah Morin, is now in her second year of high school and is feeling similar to Grace Booth, the freshmen Class President, as this is Hannah’s first time being elected.

Morin said, “This is my first year being Class President! Typically, the freshman class does not have officers, with the exception of this year. That being said, even in an online setting, my class has accomplished a lot this year. I think my biggest duty is to talk during Google Meets when there is a moment of silence. The flow of meetings is certainly different online.” 

The meetings would go more smoothly if teachers and students were in-person and able to read body language.

Morin said, “I feel connected with my class. The Class of 2023 has great attendance for meetings and we have had people as late as yesterday requesting to join our class’ council. I think eventually going back-to-school will help all the officers connect with our class as a whole even more. Our social media has helped us the most to talk to our class outside of just the members of class council.”

The sophomores seem to be more attentive when it comes to meetings. Perhaps they are itching to get more involvement with the school. Morin works better with her officers, and through this pandemic they have helped the sophomore class become more involved. 

“I do feel like I have done a good job being Class President. However, the other officers, Delany Andrews (Vice President), Emily Moore (Secretary), and Madelyn Beckman (Treasurer), are the reason why I feel like our class as a whole has done a good job this year. We work to share responsibilities and offer leadership to members of class council who are not currently officers. For example, one of our members, Molly Granger, just led an amazing project making valentines for our teachers, that everyone loved. All the officers are constantly in communication with each other and we make a great team!” said Morin.

Morin’s experience as Class President has been more productive than most. 

“While I wish things were normal, I love the way this year has gone for our class. In December, we had the most participation for our Chipotle fundraiser… Members made welcome back posters for the school’s hybrid. Currently, we are working with the junior class on a service project to help the homeless in a feeder pattern that we are trying to begin this month. And soon, our class will be having a car wash fundraiser and a game night!” said Morin.

A successful run of events leads to the Class of 2023 having a better chance at creating friendship bonds. 

The Class of 2023 has the potential to be just as strong as the class before them. However, if they are having lots of success, do they really play a part in this battle?

Juniors break their silence

The Class of 2022 is often the forgotten year. In 2019, they came in last place for the spirit week competition. Their spirit may be low, but the validation of opinions is even lower. Some think that they have just as much of a right to ride the ambulance as seniors do, while others think their stop was missed.

Adam Hernandez, a junior who is also on the football team, is one of the members of the Class of 2022 that doesn’t think missing out is a big deal. 

Being a junior, Adam has been at the school longer than most underclassmen. He has experienced more than a few events, made some good friends along the way, and is cruising into the most important year of high school without breaking a sweat.

Hernandez said, “Online school has been good. I think it is pretty easy. It is sort of hard to meet new people, but for the most part, it’s not hard to keep in contact with other people.”

Hernandez has greatly improved his work ethic since online school started, and for him, this makes his junior year run smoothly. However, this may not be the case for others. Some consider junior year is the most important year of high school. This is the time to shine for college recruiters and to get that GPA up.

The increased AP course load for some may cause them to stumble.  Adam is not worried for the juniors.

“I don’t think my class is struggling that hard, but I think the seniors this year are, since they almost lost their sports for this season and a lot of other things following the problems Covid has caused,” Adam said. 

Most juniors have sympathy for seniors, Adam being one of them. Considering that they could be walking into the same predicament as seniors are facing now, being harsh is unnecessary. 

Many student athletes rely on their extracurriculars to get into a university. 

Hernandez said, “It kind of depends on what you are looking to do after high school,” regarding missing out on special events, like football games and academic opportunities. 

He knows that football is extremely important to other players but takes a more accepting approach.

“For the most part you just have to make what you can with the time you have.” Adam said.

Even if the outlook for the Class of 2022’s senior year doesn’t look promising, they still have the potential to have a normal senior year. 

They must use this time to think about what was really important to them during their time in high school, which the Class of 2021 is thinking they took for granted. The Class of 2022 still has next year.

The Class of 2022’s Junior Class President, Matthew Coffey said, “My most important duty of representing the Class of 2022 has not changed. COVID-19 took away the duties of homecoming week, but as Junior Class President, I have still been able to lead the class council in Prom preparations. I have also fulfilled my duties of representing Linganore in county and state SGA events. In COVID-19 times, helping the community has become even more important, so the Class of 2022 has been involved in more service oriented projects. Online learning has created new challenges being class president. These challenges motivated me to work harder to overcome them and continue representing the Class of 2022.” Coffey said.

Much like the sophomores, the Class of 2022 has been awake behind the scenes involving themselves in events and other activities. Coffey is resilient as ever and knows what he must work towards to make the final years count. 

“Yes, I still feel connected with my class, but not as much during a normal school year. Being virtual has allowed me to use social media platforms and Google Forms to connect with members of my class. I’m hoping going back hybrid will allow me to become even more connected,” said Coffey. 

Social media is where this battle has all started, and it seems the Class of 2022 has utilized it for the better. Are they really watching from the sidelines? Or are they sneakily participating?

“As Class President during this unprecedented year, I would say I have been successful. I was able to take the challenge of being virtual and work to connect with members of my class. Also, I worked alongside the Class Council to recognize the staff members of Linganore and help the community. As Class President, I worked with advisors to prepare for Prom in whatever form it occurs. During a normal year, I would’ve been able to do more, but I’ve made the best of the situation this year. I do not feel like I have been ‘snubbed’ this year, either. Yes, we have missed out on events like homecoming and others, but new opportunities have been created. These new opportunities, like virtual events and more service projects, have made being class president just as meaningful as a normal year.”

Coffey seems to be looking on the bright side, and is eager to make sure the Class of 2022 gets a chance to experience one of the most hyped events in high school: Prom.

Most seniors are furious and upset that they’ve supposedly “lost” both chances at attending the special dance, but perhaps the Class of 2022 will help aid this tragedy to create the experience for the upperclassmen, if the Class of 2021 doesn’t steal all the glory.

Seniors spend time away from school reflecting

Seniors have mourned the loss of the first semester. At this point, a student has to be extremely optimistic to think the seniors will participate in LHS traditions this year. Most upperclassmen have been waiting for these moments for over ten years.  Nevertheless, a fancy new yard sign has to make up for it right? 

Courtesy of Jessie Hernandez. The Class of 2021 yard sign was given to families of seniors over the summer to show pride for their amazing students. (Jessie Hernandez)

The Class of 2021 is the star of the show. Much like the juniors, there are some students that see virtual learning as the end of the world, and there are others that have accepted their fate. Taylor Garms has taken on virtual learning with a positive outlook. 

“So far, it’s been pretty good. I enjoy having a lot of time to get assignments done and being able to wake up at a later time than I usually did back when we had in-person school,” Garms said. 

Senioritis peaks near the second semester, however, the freedom of virtual learning allows some students to have a break from rigorous classes. With keeping GPA’s up for colleges, maintaining friendships is another hurdle to jump over in quarantine as well.

“I usually don’t go out of my way to meet new people, but it’s definitely been harder to stay in touch with people I’m friends with, especially through text,” said Garms.

All students know there are friends that are communicated regularly with, and friends that are borderline acquaintances, which conversations stop when the dismissal bell rings. Although there are millions of social media sites and apps, people still find ways to cut off all contact. 

“Ghosting” is the term used by kids today, and some seniors are realizing now which friends are real and which friends are ghosts. On top of that, normal high school events are being canceled which provided some of the only ways people talked to each other. 

“I think my class is definitely suffering the most since we won’t be able to get Prom this year, or any of the usual events we had before… we probably won’t get a graduation ceremony, either. But, I do think the whole pep rally competition before homecoming isn’t a big deal this year, since our class won last year,” Garms said.

Prom is something many seniors have been looking forward to for a long time. For the Class of 2021 specifically, they missed one of two chances to attend.  However, there are some who don’t care at all about some school dance. Garms is one of the few people who cares more about graduation than anything else. 

Though it wasn’t talked about much, a groundbreaking win for the Class of 2021 was beating the class of 2020 in the spirit day competition and obtaining the spirit stick at the 2019 pep rally. This broke an 18 year streak for seniors, and they were not happy about it.

So, at least the Class of 2021 indirectly achieved something for seniors. As of now, graduation as well as Prom is in the works, but no one thinks it’s guaranteed. Aside from that, is missing Prom really the biggest problem?

“I think missing out on academic opportunities is worse than missing out on high school traditions because it’s really important for the seniors this time of year to learn more about college and ways to manage their future lives,” Garms said. 

The process for college admissions has been very different this year. Students are not getting as much help with writing essays or submitting applications unless a short slideshow video counts as “everything you need to know about making the biggest educational decision of your life”.

On top of that, even though many schools are going “test optional” a lot of them still require SAT scores, ACT scores, and AP test scores. Students still have to pay for them full price. However, students of all classes take many tests, not just seniors.

“I think this fight is justified because a lot of people, in every single year, are losing a lot because of the Coronavirus. We all have our own viewpoints on what is worse or better for each grade level, and I don’t blame anyone for being extremely annoyed at losing a whole year of school.” Garms said.

Anyone has the right to be upset when education and memories are at stake for every single student. The Class of 2021 is losing a lot, and is being forced to grow up faster than everyone else. Only three more months left, and it’s all over. 

The Senior Class President Morgan Miller has done a lot for the Class of 2021. She was even nominated this year for “having the most school spirit.” Miller has done many events throughout her presidency and continues to do events even during virtual learning.

Miller said, “As a student leader, we are grouped in Mr. Brown’s PREP class. I am grateful for our opportunity to be able to meet and cover SGA events, fundraisers, and class-council specific topics. I am pleased with how much input we get from all of the students, especially underclassmen. I feel as though our PREP class encourages discussion and promotes creative brainstorming. Additionally, a Google Meet environment encourages discussion, and all ideas are being heard. Everyone speaks at once, everyone has a voice. Whereas at school, students may be more hesitant to share their thoughts and opinions.”

Although some students have difficulty communicating online, the SGA members are making it work with their passion to excel in their duties.

“It has been very difficult to do service projects, due to guidelines and restrictions. However, the Egg Nog Jog was a huge success, even though it was virtual. We also had the junior class organize a canned-food drive for when students pick-up/drop off materials. Other than that, I feel as though my duties have stayed the same. I still prepare class agendas, and lead our class meetings. I feel as though the anticipation from the past year to get involved, has made students more eager to lead and make an impact. However, we didn’t have homecoming, and we didn’t get to decorate prom/ t-shirts, venue, tickets, etc. that was a bummer,” Miller said.

Miller, along with the other class presidents, have put their heads together to help out the classes by providing them with activities and virtual events to attend through this pandemic. This has strengthened the bond between Miller and her class even more. Parents have also been a big support for the events run by the SGA members.

Miller said, “I feel more connected with my class than ever before. Due to Covid, there has been so much parent/community outreach through social media. We are all in solidarity, and we all know that we got the ‘rock bottom scenario’. Obviously, not being in the building for almost a year, and now being divided into hybrid/ online and cohorts, it may appear as though we have lost connection, but our lancer spirit has only grown stronger. There are so many eager students who genuinely love to be in the building. They thrive off of the social interaction. In SGA, especially, collaboration and discussion is vital for new ideas, planning, and fundraising. In addition, I feel as though, with this technology surge, students are more likely to reach out to their peers, teachers, counselors, community, etc. There is a Facebook group for the seniors/parents, where they are discussing various fundraising efforts among a long list of other wonderful ideas.”

The passion to create normalcy is still there. Miller has full motivation to make the spring events that are assumed to be canceled, happen.

“I am grateful for the other class officers, as we have all held the same positions since junior year. We have grown as leaders, and all have a great connection. We still are able to have class council meetings through google meet and communicate with our advisors quite often. In addition, I feel connected with the other classes just as much. The class Presidents communicate in order to generate ideas to present at our next meeting. This is something that we haven’t typically done in the past. As I said previously, our SGA PREP has been very proactive and accepting of all ideas. Mr. Brown encourages discussion and helps us make it happen,” said Miller.

Miller and the other class presidents have strengthened their bond during this pandemic, and have motivated each other to keep pushing for a great year.

“Additionally I am so thankful for our junior year homecoming experience. We had an overwhelming amount of help from members of our class, our class advisors Ms. Davies and Mr. Rudderrow, along with Mr. Brown to make homecoming amazing. From constructing our float, to painting the hill, painting our banner, decorating the dance, the pep rally, and winning the spirit stick, I am thankful that we had this normalcy in our earlier years of high school,” said Miller.

Morgan Miller is holding the spirit stick won by the Class of 2021 in the 2019 Linganore Pep Rally. Miller is surrounded by Carolina Heister, Samantha Hoefs, Madeline Williamson, Gabby Thomas, Lindsey Green, Ashley Nash, and other members of the Class of 2021, cheering for the record-breaking win. (LHS Journalism)

As Miller reflects on the past, it is clear that she is a very dedicated president. The Class of 2021 is very lucky to have a president like her. All that she and the other presidents have done has made this year a little better. 

“Online school has been very difficult to cope with. There was nothing I looked forward to more than going back to school in the fall. Having the entire first semester taken from us was so hard to accept. Adapting to a routine at home, and finding the motivation to stay on top of your academics can be so difficult especially when processing so much disappointment. Online learning however, has only increased my passion for ensuring that the Class of 2021 gets the recognition it so dearly deserves. A year is a long time… especially in these fast-paced, significant periods of our lives. Our senior year is one of the most impactful years of high school. Missing out on so much is very disheartening. I hope to bring more attention, recognition, and compassion in solidarity for our class,” Miller said.

The amount of loss that the Class of 2021 has experienced has been debated over whether it is comparable to the class of 2020 or years younger than them. Homecoming festivities, football games, and school spirit aren’t just for seniors, they are for the entire school. Nevertheless, all of those events could’ve been the senior’s last time witnessing any of it. 

Miller said, “I have put so much time and commitment into my time as class President. I am proud of the things that we were able to accomplish. Having almost a year to reflect on my time in high school, I know a significant part of our childhood has been taken from us, and it feels as though we are forced to let go of a chapter in our lives before it’s even over. We as people, have grown so much stronger. Having to deal with so much letdown amongst a pandemic will help us in adulthood. Throughout this time, we have been able to really find our passions, focus on our health, appreciate our family/friends, etc.”

Not many people are able to get over lost time, or at least in a healthy way. Underclassmen will look at the Class of 2021 and wonder how they got through it all.

“Amongst all of the trials and tribulations of the 2020-2021 school year, I hope, at the very least, to be a good example for the younger classes. I hope that they see the opportunity that high school holds. The canvas is theirs to paint. I am grateful for my opportunity to be a student leader at the 2024 freshman orientation. There, student leaders were able to give so much advice and food for thought to the incoming class. I feel as though Pre-Covid, we wouldn’t have been as passionate about delivering valuable information, and just read the slideshow off the projector. This past year has really taught me that all things happen for a reason. As I have been able to look at my education from a new perspective. I am more inclined to use my resources, stay organized, and develop an at-home routine, all skills that will benefit me in college. Yes, it does feel like we have been “snubbed”… but I am so proud of the Class of 2021 because we are resilient and optimistic with bright futures,” Miller said. 

Even if there is more time than ever in this isolation, it can be spent reflecting on the past couple years. Though students are losing a lot, when they look back, there are still memories to remember and even more years ahead to live.

It’s very disheartening. This pandemic has stolen many precious things from students. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors have all valid opinions, but at the end of the day, it would be better for them to realize that everyone is suffering together. 

Which class has it the hardest this year?


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