Eye of the Editors: GLC messaging invalidates student experiences

Opinion: GLCs are not doing enough to support seniors during the pandemic.

As the end of the school year draws closer, attention has once again shifted to the graduating seniors, the class of 2021. Rather than acknowledging that our highly awaited senior year has been taken away, we are being told to “stay positive” by our GLCs as they downplay what has been undeniably the worst school year for many of us.

There is no doubt that this year was a major letdown for all seniors. We have been working toward this final year of high school since we arrived at Diamond Bar High School, only to have it go down the drain. The anticipation for our last homecoming, senior sunrise, grad night, senior breakfast, senior ditch day and prom was all for nothing in the end. So when we’re told to not “get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself,” it’s only fair that we might be frustrated at the lack of understanding from those around us.

Guilt-tripping seniors about how “not everything is terrible” and that we have “a lot to be grateful for” while we miss out on an irredeemable milestone in life serves only to invalidate and alienate the feelings of the senior class. 

While the class of 2020 received countless amounts of sympathy and efforts from the staff to make up for the few months of their senior year that were lost, the class of 2021 is sent messages such as “smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors.” Instead of recognizing that our senior year has been even worse, class of 2021 GLCs say that it has been “an unpredictable senior year for us.” I would counter that “awful” is a much better word to describe it. 

I understand that the GLCs only have our best intentions at heart and want us to finish our high school career strong, but what they need to realize is that at this point, seniors have little attachment to DBHS. With nothing to look forward to—given that most senior events have been canceled—the motivation to “keep our foot on the gas” is nonexistent.

It is difficult to keep pushing forward when there is no incentive at the end of the road. We are mentally exhausted, staring at our computers day after day with nothing to break up the monotony or to look forward to, just trying to escape this year with passing grades and a college acceptance letter. 

Although the efforts from our GLCs to uplift our spirits with inspirational quotes and letters of encouragement may help some, most seniors are in need of a different solution. It would be relieving for faculty to concede that this year was a major disappointment rather than pretending that free donuts and senior spirit days are a replacement for every lost experience. The strong push for optimism and to “just get through these times,” makes it feel as if our senior year is just another obstacle for the faculty to push past and forget about. While for the staff this is just another year at work, for us it is a year of missed opportunities and irreplaceable memories that we won’t have the chance to make up for. 

While there are numerous claims that the school is doing everything possible to make this year an unforgettable experience for seniors, as of now, they are all just verbal promises with nothing to back them up. Despite knowing ahead of time that this year would most likely be entirely virtual and not in-person—unlike the sudden shift the class of 2020 experienced—the only senior activities that have passed the idea stage are a virtual Senior Olympics event and a senior Minecraft server that can only accommodate for less than half of the senior class. 

Aside from this, seniors have only been vaguely told of plans that may or may not be in the works, but little else is known. If the goal is to get us enthusiastic for the end of our senior year, let us know what ideas are up in the air. Give us hope that we have something to work toward and get excited about because just mentioning the chance of a graduation ceremony is not the most comforting statement. 

This article is not written with the intention to accuse or insult the class of 2021 GLCs—its purpose is to offer insight into what is going through the minds of DBHS seniors. We hope to communicate that the constant message to be positive is not an entirely effective solution for the senior year we were robbed of, and to offer suggestions of how to better approach the situation.