The end of a journey: Seniors reflect on their favorite high school memories

As their senior year comes to a close, the Class of 2020 has nothing but good things to say while looking back on their last four years.

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Supplied by Wes Andrews

From past to present: Wes Andrews showcases his Class of 2020 pride at Spirit Week with classmate Emma Bitar, as a young freshman (pictured left) and as an accomplished senior (pictured right).

The transition into high school can be tough on students. Just ask Class of 2020 President, Lexi Levin.

“I was really nervous. I even asked my brother if people walk alone in the hallways,” Levin said.

Wes Andrews got his first look inside Eastern during the summer before his freshman year.

Like most new students, he couldn’t believe the size of the high school, making Voorhees Middle School seem small. “We walked into the school and it looked huge. It was so much bigger than VMS, but it felt like I was exploring something new,” Andrews said.

Throughout their four years at Eastern, the senior class has become seasoned veterans when it comes to the high school experience. High school is the beginning of a new journey, a step towards the real world. It is where students learn and grow. But most importantly, it’s where they make friendships and memories that last a lifetime.

The Interact Club had a great impact on Mia Prowisor, but earlier this year, one moment particularly stuck out to her.

“In Interact, the officers dropped off leftover gifts [from the Breakfast with Santa event] to Virtua Hospitals and the Ronald McDonald House in Camden. Watching the reactions of the people in charge of these organizations receive the gifts was a touching moment,” Prowisor said. This experience helped Prowisor realize volunteering is something she enjoyed, and plans to continue on helping communities after leaving Eastern.

Kierstin Clem learned valuable lessons while competing on Eastern’s track and cross country squads.

“There are times when I wanted to quit, but it really taught me that when things get hard, they can always get better, so you just have to push through,” she said. Moments like these have helped her develop as a person and have propelled her running career, which she will continue at Stockton University this fall.

When looking back at their high school years, there are always a few moments that resonate with students, for better or for worse.

One of Jeremy Bender’s final high school memories during the year was also one of the most unforgettable.

“I made a carrot cake for Mr. Miller and brought it in on his half-birthday. Other people brought in half-and-half iced-tea in honor of his half-birthday, so we threw a surprise half-birthday party for him. We brought the food to the other environmental teacher, Mrs. Praesel, and it turned out it was her birthday,” Bender said. Unfortunately, it was a goodbye party of sorts, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced school to close shortly thereafter.

This year’s homecoming dance during Spirit Week stood out to Andrews. Typically, seniors don’t show up in strong numbers during the homecoming dance, but this year, however, was different.

“We played good music and went crazy. It was fun. Even Mr. Lindenhofen said it was the best homecoming ever. Everyone was singing, dancing, and having a good time,” he said.

As always, it will be hard for this year’s seniors to say farewell to certain aspects of high school.

Levin will especially miss the intricacies of high school.

“I’m going to miss the little moments of running to class when I’m late, or just talking with friends in the hallways,” she said.

Levin said it will be odd to not see her “school friends,” or students who she might not see outside of the classroom. “I’ll miss seeing people who I normally see in the hallways, and don’t hang out with outside of school,” she said.

Some of Prowisor’s teachers have had a great impact on her life, and she’ll be sad to say goodbye when the time comes.

“I’ve talked with students from other high schools, and none of them have expressed having more than one or two good teachers during their four years. I feel I’m incredibly lucky to have gone to Eastern and be taught by the amazing faculty here. They are such wonderful people and I look up to them,” Prowisor said.

When it came to shouting out teachers, she jokingly refused to mention any one teacher in particular because there were simply too many to thank. “It wouldn’t be fair to shout out just one of them because they were all so influential on my life,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a curveball at the Class of 2020, but this year’s senior class will not let the health crisis define their senior year. They continue to draw hope on the future ahead, recognizing this is one of many challenges that will be thrown their way in the game of life.

“Even though the current times are hard, everyone is in the same boat, and we have to push forward. We have to hope for the best, and look forward to what the future brings,” said Levin.

Andrews added his own words of encouragement, drawing life-lessons from an unprecedented time in history.

“Going forward, we all have potential to do whatever we want in this world. The current situation is a perfect catalyst to show that everything is vulnerable,” he said.

“I don’t think we’re saying goodbye, just see you later.”