Triangle high school seniors unsure of graduation plans

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — High school seniors all over the Triangle are finishing up their last high school days at home and many remain unsure of the future as the coronavirus pandemic strengthens in North Carolina.

On Monday, high school seniors at the Durham School of the Arts (DSA) picked up their caps and gowns in front of the school.

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The students drove up and two people with masks and gloves approached the vehicles and placed the cap and gown either in the passenger seat or in the trunk.

“This is so weird,” said Caitlyn Shanahan, a senior at DSA. “Who would have thought I would be picking up my cap and gown like this.”

When Shanahan got home she said she could not wait to try it on, but she said it also makes her kind of sad.

Right now she does not know if they will even have a high school graduation.

“It’s sad because I feel like me and all my friends worked hard for years for that moment where you walk across the stage and you shake hands with the principal,” Shanahan said.

The coronavirus has forced Shanahan to finish out her last school days at home. But because she is a senior with a passing grade, she said she is done with the school work for the year.

She said she spends most of her days now cleaning the house.

“I’m like Cinderella right now,” Shanahan said. “This is my every day life. I swear once we get out of this whole virus thing, I’m never going to clean again. I did too much.”

Shanahan said she plans to go to Durham Technical Community College in the fall, but she said it has been challenging making those plans.

She said meetings at Durham Tech have been canceled due to the coronavirus.

“I just feel like we’re losing something very important in life,” Shanahan said.

As much as Shanahan tries to stay positive, she said she feels COVID-19 has robbed her class of their high school senior memories.

“In a way I feel bad saying that seniors are getting it rough, when people are dying and that’s terrible,” Shanahan said. “But at the same time I feel like everyone has their own story. Everyone is going through it differently.”

A spokesperson with Durham Public Schools said it is too early to know if graduation ceremonies will be postponed or canceled.

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