What a crazy final year it’s become for members of the Waxahachie High School class of 2020.

Instead of the usual teenage chatter of relationships, class work and cafeteria food echoing throughout the halls of Waxahachie High School, there is an empty darkness.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has made its impacts felt across the United States, including Waxahachie ISD, the school system has been shut down, stripping students of their UIL activities, banquets and social proximity.

Initially, WISD extended its spring break by one week as the COVID-19 outbreak spread to Ellis County. The school board then made the significant decision March 28 to follow the city’s shelter-in-place order and extend distance learning through April 16. 6. The governor has since ordered all schools in the state to remain closed until May 4.

Earlier this month, the Texas University Interscholastic League announced it was suspending all UIL-sanctioned activities, to include all contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts, until further notice. The UIL governs sports, academic meets and fine arts.

This directly impacted students’ extracurricular activities, with seniors likely the hardest hit.

This means, for one, that the high school’s athletes may have to finish their last semester of school at home instead of fulfilling their final season. One example is senior Aaron Tesei, a University of Central Arkansas baseball commit in the fall.

“I just feel bad for the guys who will never play again or for the guys who are still trying to get recruited,” Tesei said. “I just pray every day for this virus to go away and for all the people who are infected.”

Fine arts seniors have been impacted as well. Senior Rosie Baez, a member of the Spirit of Waxahachie band, continues to practice in hopes of returning to school and completing her last semester of competition.

“The strive for excellence never stops for this band program,” Baez said. “Even though we have our unfocused/joking moments that I miss, I’d rather be with the full ensemble making music.”

Prom, one of the most anticipated gatherings of the year at the high school level, recently saw its cancellation. Although school leaders are attempting to create an alternate event to replace the loss, there is no way of knowing how long the virus’ impacts will last.

“I miss seeing all my friends and not being able to do all the senior activities and possibly not even get to walk the halls of high school,” senior choir member Makayla Miller said.

For the class of 2020 members, one ray of sunshine peeking out from beneath the pandemic cloud in this, their “crazy final year,” is the possibility of new technologies being developed to combat disease as well as a greater appreciation for those who work in the medical field, grocery stores and delivery drivers.

“I know it stinks that everyone in the country is on lockdown but we can overcome this if we just all stay home as much as we can,” Tesei said. “God has a plan for each and every one of us.”

(Editor's note: Updated to reflect that Aaron Tesei has committed to the University of Central Arkansas.)

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