Ellet's Nate Smith and the Class of 2020

Circumstances, No Pomp
Posted on 05/18/2020
(Lindsay Buckingham for WKYC.com)

They are the babies of the 9/11 era. Born during a time of uncertainty. Now, these high school seniors are finding their plans interrupted by a new national crisis. The Class of 2020 has become the Class of Covid-19.

“The realization set in that I could never experience this again. So that’s been the worst part, not being able to experience this.”

Nate Smith of Ellet CLC High School in Akron was one of three seniors who joined us by Zoom to talk about ending high school during a pandemic.

School buildings had just been closed for the rest of the school year. And their big plans for the spring had been canceled.

Emma Carson, of Lakewood, is a talented violinist. “We have our big senior concert for orchestra. A lot of seniors play solo. I was going to play solo in that concert that has unfortunately been canceled,” she shared.

Jordan Greer had his dreams dashed too. A wrestler, he was headed to states for Avon High School. Jordan’s coach gathered the team together and broke the news. “It was pretty emotional. I mean, you think about all the work you’ve put in that entire time. Yeah, it would have been amazing because it could have been for a state championship, that I’ve been working for the entire year.”

Nate Smith had played his final basketball game but wanted one more memory with his teammates. The basketball banquet, where Smith looked forward to hearing his name called and plans for a special memento. “I had a basketball that I was going to bring to the banquet to have all the coaches and the players sign. Now I can’t even have my classmates and my team sign it. I can’t do that. It’s a little rough.”

The disappointments linger, but there is still hope and anticipation for the future.

Emma is heading to Case Western Reserve where she will continue to perform and will pursue a degree in music education.

Jordan has committed to Ohio University for wrestling.

And Nate is heading west to the University of Arizona. However, when the pandemic happened, it prompted the teen to rethink his plans for the fall. “I just had time to think about it and decided I was going to apply for the spring semester of 2021 just play it safe.”

Graduation is next for the group, though not in the way they ever imagined. But they want all of us to know, it’s okay. And they’ll be okay.

“The feeling that we are all going through it together is helpful,” Emma said.

Both Nate and Jordan have used the weeks of isolation as a time for reflection. It’s not about what they missed but rather what they’ve been given.

“I’ve reflected so much during this period on myself. I think about how much my teachers, every day, have put their time in on me. How much my coaches, heck my parents were putting up with me in that house and that sort of thing. I’ve just been reflecting a lot because life is built on relationships,” Greer said.

Though the pomp is overshadowed by the circumstances, the Class of 2020 reminds us of all the good that comes, even from our darkest days.

Image of Nate Smith
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