WHS, A “Viral” 4-Year Experience on Social Media & Infection Rates: Senior Perspective

Jennifer Rosen, Features Editor

Snow days were always met with a sense of excitement throughout my childhood. Following a day of intense snowball fights and competitive reading tournaments, I would pray to Mother Nature that she could make it snow every day so I could stay home from school and repeat the day’s events forever. 

Today, as a 17-year-old senior, I look back on my childish ideologies and can now thoroughly attest that too much of anything is a very bad thing.

May 21, 2019: Stomach Flu Hits Wantagh High School, Affects Dozens of Students.

May 30, 2019: Wantagh Shorted by Ransomware Attack

Freshman year started out on an exciting note as the high school environment enriched my academic interests. Throughout the year, I found myself fascinated by Ms. Pepe’s discussions on ancient civilizations in Global History and riveted by Mrs. Sebastiano’s dissection labs in Living Environment. 

 As the end of the year came near, however, everything moved by in a strange blur as computer viruses and stomach bugs infected Wantagh High School. With students staying home to avoid catching the “Wantagh Plague” and teachers unable to recover their course materials, the school year ended on an unsettling note. As I watched herds of students leave throughout the day, I remember joking how sooner or later, we were going to need hazmat suits to enter the building. I had no idea what was to come.

March 13, 2020: Wantagh, Levittown schools close on positive corona cases

April 29, 2020: Cancellations bring Wantagh athletes heartache, dashed hopes

Entering sophomore year, I felt older and wiser. My grade level was now a double digit number, and I was no longer the “baby” of the school. I now had the liberty to take AP classes that would allow me to reconsider the world around me and I was finally able to go on field trips with my classes. From New York City to Orlando, I found myself surrounded by genius works of art, theatre, and music that heightened my expectations for  what was to come for the rest of the year. 

However, I soon found sophomore year cut short by COVID-19. It is fair to say that I never want to hear the word “unprecedented” again as I watched that word fill headlines while my life turned to isolation and quarantine. The excitement that once existed in staying home from school turned into longing and boredom. I found myself having to learn how to enjoy my own company and cope with my thoughts.

With COVID’s spread came the even larger dispersion of misinformation across the Internet, making the world even harder to understand. I watched as social media platforms turned to social justice outlets as the spread of race issues, politics, news, and entertainment formed my peers’ opinions on numerous global issues. Closing tenth grade, I saw a world more divided than ever before.

November 17, 2021: Wantagh High School closed for two weeks

March 2, 2021: Wantagh High closed after new virus cases surface

Junior year. Quoted as the hardest year in high school with expectations rising and grades being more important than ever, started off within the four concrete walls of my bedroom. I was now semi-engaged, staring bleary eyed (well, honestly close eyed) at my laptop that contained all my courses. The once social and stimulating environment of a classroom was met with awkward silence on Schoology conferences with teachers exasperatingly attempting to get students to turn on their microphones.

Everyone seemed clouded by a sense of indifference. Cohorts allowed for early weekends as by the time Wednesdays and Thursdays came, sleep was provided till 7:30-8am and taking pictures of notes was enough to suffice. The year seemed to drag by and although we were able to come back in March, the musty shield guards provided a learning lens that served as a constant reminder of the times we were facing. By the time AP tests were finished, I had had enough.

September 9, 2021: Wantagh students return to the classroom

Now I am here. In a strange sense, it does not feel like I am going through senior year, but rather reliving an earlier part of my life that does not fit quite right anymore. Although there is comforting relief in seeing sports and Homecoming return, it feels unimportant compared to the next upcoming phases in my life. However, I do find happiness in being able to engage in my studies and see familiar faces. I have found that practicing gratitude in times like these has given me peace. 

In doing this, I will see to it that my final year at Wantagh High School will be one of enjoying final moments of childhood, giving thanks to those who have made a difference, and finding a healthy sense of closure once the caps rise at graduation and another chapter begins.