Dulaney’s Forgotten Class of ‘21 Speaks Out

Alycia Wong, News Editor

The generation that grew up watching whimsical Disney Channel Original movies and daydreaming about the perfect prom is now facing the harsh reality of COVID-19; their last year(s) of high school now online with little hope for typical senior year events. For the class of 2020, sympathy was given across the country. “Adopt a senior” gave people the opportunity to give gift cards, candy and money to the class of 2020 and at Dulaney, a giant banner that says ‘We Love Our Seniors’ still hangs in honor of the class. But, only half of their year was cut short. Dulaney seniors were still able to paint the rocks, have Senior Barbecue and roam the hallways one last time. In comparison, the class of ‘21 didn’t even have their junior prom, let alone any of the privileges that come with being a senior at Dulaney. 

54 students in Dulaney’s class of 2021 gave their input on the matter, with 85 percent believing that their class was not treated the same as the year before and 94 percent of those people saying that the treatment was worse than that of 2020. On social media, people have named this year’s graduating class the “forgotten class of ‘21,” and at Dulaney, 77.8 percent of seniors said that the phrase was fitting. Furthermore, aside from missing special senior events, they have also had to grapple with classes and the college application process in a completely virtual setting. When asked if they felt supported by staff this year, most students were ambivalent. 

“While some teachers are piling on more work then they would with in person school, I have had a handful of teachers that are tremendously understanding and forgiving with deadlines and grading, more so then they would be if we were in school in person,” explained senior Carolyn Twomley. 

But in regards to the college application process, the majority of students did not feel supported by the school, due to several factors like the disconnect from Dulaney staff or heavy workload. One anonymous student shared this sentiment:

“Many teachers with senior students did nothing to accommodate the race to submit college applications. Class schedules continued at a very fast pace and left little time for students to work on college essays etc,” said this student. 

Having to navigate the unprecedented circumstances of their last year in high school, the majority of seniors felt more stressed with online school and 39.2 percent of students said that the stress would have been less severe if it had been any other year. 

“Some classes for online school have become nothing more than self learning […] An online environment makes it hard for students to be motivated,” said another anonymous Dulaney senior. 

Though many students were upset by the actions of Dulaney staff, they were simultaneously sympathetic towards teachers, who are also struggling with virtual learning. 

“Staring at a screen of letters inside of dots must be difficult,” stated one student. 

Most comments from the class of ‘21 were filled with frustration and disappointment, feeling all of the stress of a typical senior workload without the gratification of celebratory events or special attention similar to that of the previous class. One anonymous senior summarizes this best.

“[The class of 2020] got the majority of their senior year and yet got so much support about missing their end of year activities like prom. I’ve had to do all the difficult parts of senior year online (new classes, apply to college, etc.) and received very little support for that,” said the student. 

Despite the negative sentiment of Dulaney’s seniors after a tumultuous first semester, a decline in COVID cases and the rapid distribution of vaccines increases the probability of senior events such as prom, already set to take place May 14. While it may not be the picture perfect year that the class of ‘21 anticipated, there is still a chance that they will get their own version of a Disney Channel ending.