Sophomores in New York City are looking forward to what lies next after their recent graduation.
When the pandemic gripped New York City in March 2020, high school sophomores had no idea that their remaining two years would look nothing like they had imagined.
Many of those sophomores are graduating now, having navigated school closures and two unusual years marked with grief and isolation.
City officials celebrated the full reopening of public schools last fall, but the year was not nearly as normal as anyone had hoped.
“It’s been weird because I don’t really feel like part of the school — like, I kinda had to remember where everything was again as a senior,” said 18-year-old Alexandra Cruz, who graduated this month from Millennium Brooklyn High School.
“I think it would have felt like more of a community if I had been there for the full four years.”
Like students in other grades, some seniors worried about contracting COVID and infecting high-risk relatives at home, especially as a winter surge emptied schools for weeks in December and January.
However, on top of the anxiety of being around peers for the first time since the pandemic hit, seniors also had to decide on what came after high school.
For many others in the Class of 2022, returning to the building was a boon.
It meant seeing their friends and teachers again and learning in a classroom instead of through a screen. And for some, it was why they made it to graduation.