Looking back at a unique school year (Staff Editorial, May 2020)

From issue 8

The 2019-2020 Sentry II class
The 2019-2020 Sentry I class

This school year has obviously been like no other that we have seen. When frightening tensions with Iran, the early and tragic death of a basketball icon, the impeachment of the President of the United States, historic flooding of the Jackson Metro Area, and the beginning of a presidential general election are all not the biggest stories of the year, something extraordinarily unique and crazy has been going on. The coronavirus has shifted almost every area of our lives and has forced us to adapt in ways that we never would have thought back when the school year began.

Looking back, it seems as though we were all innocent and oblivious to what could happen, but no one could have expected the many horrible crises: millions of deaths, skyrocketing unemployment, a rise in depression and mental illness, and smaller things that have affected us as high school students, especially our seniors: remote learning and all the challenges that come with it, the cancellation of Prom and Spring sports seasons, and the absence of friends, teachers, and the comradery that binds us together.

Lessons will be learned from this pandemic. Everyday happenings like interactions with classmates, being in classrooms, and walking around the Jackson Prep campus will have a new meaning. The current Prep students will come back to school or go off to college in August equipped with flexibility, adaptability, and gratefulness because of this unique experience.

This year has had its ups and downs. After all, while the 2019-2020 school season will be defined by the coronavirus pandemic, only a quarter of it was directly affected. It is important to remember some of the highlights and that no student will enter summer completely empty-handed. Prep’s 2019 musical, Catch Me if You Can, was a huge success. School trips to Costa Rica, London, and Canada all went as planned. Students had the opportunity to see Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the Mississippi Book Festival. Senior high Youth Legislature had students stuck in an elevator with former Rep. Gregg Harper. We also cannot leave out that we at The Sentry were very fortunate to win various awards at this year’s Mississippi Scholastic Press Association virtual awards ceremony.

In sports, both girls’ and boys’ soccer teams won their championships. The boys and girls both made it to the championship round in basketball, and while they lost, students were able to get out of school and support their peers. There were no bigger Patriot fans than this year’s batch of Male Cheerleaders. From the JA halftime head-shaving to the many chants in the bleachers throughout the year, they never failed to disappoint. The chess team won a smashing first place in the MAIS team championship and second in the overall state team championship.  When remote learning took effect, students improvised with a successful Fortnite tournament.

This school year is and will be  marked by COVID-19 and the toll it has taken on everyone. However, our school year was more than that. It was filled with laughter, learning, fun times, good memories, winning, and service. Now, we are better suited to return to the Prep campus in August than ever because of our new perspectives and shared experiences.