Letter: A chain of senior ‘lasts’

Dear Editor,

A year ago I would have been ready to skip senior year altogether. I was so ready to move on, with my college choices already narrowed down and my athletic future shining bright. Starting this school year, I still may have said the same thing, as I was thrilled to have my three last sports seasons, my final piano lessons, the final performances with Making the Band (MTB), and my last time in AP classes. 

However, when this pandemic first hit through the cancellation of our Spanish trip to Costa Rica for our spring break, it sparked the realization that this chain of senior “lasts” may be fast approaching – without us even knowing. 

Our last MTB rehearsal we looked forward to performing at Ransom Steele for our community, not knowing that we wouldn’t even perform for the Strawberry Festival in June, which is usually our final performance. 

Our last track practice we were running up and down Cemetery Hill, not aware we wouldn’t have barely any meets left in our season. 

My only joyful “last” was playing in the pit orchestra for Newsies this year, because I was so proud of myself and so lucky to have been a part of such an amazing production. I also could recognize that this would really be the last time I play my trumpet hidden in the pit, with the musical happening above. 

But now, as I sit writing and reflecting, I understand that my senior year will now be filled with loss and regret, because I never got to say goodbye to the people and clubs I have been in the last four years. I believe I’d give almost anything now to run around the track for three and three quarter laps, to play my keyboard on the side of the stage, to perform the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, to laugh with my lifetime friends in the NHS lounge, to get to say goodbye to all the people who have made my time in high school so special. 

Even if I went back to school for a few weeks, these final moments of high school can never be the same, and I find myself again longing to skip to my future in Michigan. 

Although it can be hard to comprehend the loss that not just myself but the entire world has gone through, I think we can learn from our time in quarantine. If there is one final message I could share with my community about life after this situation, it would be that it’s okay to look forward to your future, but look too far and you’ll miss what’s right in front of you. In other words, you don’t know what you have, until it’s gone. 

I’m thankful for my time in Owego, and I’m hoping we have time to say some proper goodbyes.


Katie Shoen

Owego Free Academy

Class of 2020

(Note from the editor: Katie Shoen is in Chris Evans’ AP Literature class at Owego Free Academy. She is headed to Eastern Michigan University on a swimming scholarship.)

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