Top Teens of America WS Chapter on the Impact of COVID-19

Top Teens of America WS Chapter on the Impact of COVID-19
April 09
15:30 2020

On March 14 during a rehearsal prior to the Scholarship Gala, the Top Teens of America Winston Salem Chapter participants were all astonished, disappointed and shocked when they received an email stating that WSFCS had cancelled classes for the next two weeks. This news came while both Teens and Ladies were preparing for a fun-filled Evening of Elegance with families of 18 teens and their escorts who were preparing for their annual scholarship gala banquet. Normally, the Top Teens of America WS Chapter members would continue to volunteer with UNCF, March of Dimes, St. Jude’s, a charity golf event, and close the year attending a church service followed by a ceremony presenting the seniors with scholarships and cords. The events that have attracted noble and positive teens are now cancelled or postponed. 

Top Teens co-advisor and educator, Lady La’Trenda Boyd-Gordon, conversed with the Top Ladies of Distinction W-S Chapter’s president, Lady Barbara Stowe, and Lady Joyce Leak, TLOD’s public relations chair, and they decided to have the Top Teens’ senior students write their personal thoughts, opinions and personal feelings of how COVID-19 has impacted their senior year of high school. Lady La’Trenda reminded them that they were not STUCK at home, but rather SAFE at home, with an opportunity to contribute memoirs that would be a part of global history. Here is what each Top Teen Senior had to say:                                                                              

Teen Najashi “Shi” Belcher (Walkertown High School). COVID-19 has changed my view on how I wanted the last few months of my senior year to end. I wanted to take part in all the senior activities – the senior picnic, prom, senior assassins, awards day, possibly graduation too, and so much more. Now I cannot finish out the year with many friends since we’re all on quarantine and doing eLearning. However, taking classes online is something that I’m accustomed to since I have dual enrollment classes through Forsyth Technical Community College. Besides the fact that I have been accepted into 25 colleges and universities stretching from coast to coast, North and South, this virus has provided me with a little more time to narrow that list down. But collecting the materials for scholarships has been an additional challenge because schools are closed and most recommendations must be sealed and signed for it to be valid. Outside of the school environment, everything is shut down. Malls, movie theaters, barbershops, theme parks, gyms, weight rooms are all closed. It’s hard trying to adjust to a life that was once filled with things to do and places to be every day. Above all, I sympathize for the senior spring sport athletes because they barely started their season, something they won’t be able to get back at all. Although we may be at a time of odds, we must just seize the moment and know that this class of 2020 is stronger and optimistic and undefeatable than ever!      

Teen Jordynn Foster (West Forsyth High School). How is COVID-19 affecting me? How are you feeling? Are you okay? These are the questions that I keep getting asked. I will tell you how I feel. At first, I was angry, mad and upset. My senior year was cut short. For four years, I have been preparing for MY SENIOR YEAR only to have it swept away. My senior prom is canceled. My graduation is potentially going to be online. I will not get to see my friends from school until summer or even later. I knew the quarantine was going to be bad; I just didn’t think it would be this bad. All my teachers made it seem like everything was going to be fine. That’s the difference between them and myself; they’re optimists and I’m a realist. I am dealing with and content with the fact that I will not have a Senior Prom, Awards Day or any other senior activities. I am more concerned that I will not have a graduation. I have worked way too hard not to walk across that stage and get my diploma. So, to answer your question, this COVID-19 has turned MY LIFE upside down.

Teen Jaden Baldwin (Mt. Tabor High School). I am in my senior year of high school and everything I knew as my “Normal Life” no longer exists. Life was moving forward and I was counting down to my graduation on Saturday, June 13, 2020. About three weeks ago, everything changed due to the coronavirus. This virus originated in Wuhan, China. Each day, the national news portrayed increasing numbers of people dying. Initially, I did not pay much attention to it. As days progressed and the virus was spreading all over the world, the nation was informed that there was a deadly pandemic occurring. What in the world??? Who had ever heard of the coronavirus? Well, as more people started dying in the United States and North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order that closed all North Carolina schools until May 15, 2020. Initially, I was disappointed that I no longer would see most of my friends. My senior class probably will not have a senior prom or graduation ceremony. Of course, I was looking forward to walking across the stage at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum like my cousins.  

The online schooling is getting better. Initially, I had some Internet issues, but they have been resolved. I am used to sitting in a classroom and interactive teaching. Life seems a little weird because you cannot go inside of the banks or eat dinner in the restaurants. We must practice social distancing, whereby all people must remain six feet apart. I cannot go to the YMCA and play basketball or go swimming. Yes, life is different. Due to COVID-19, I was not able to attend the Charlotte Hornet vs L.A. Lakers basketball game on my recent birthday. My family and I were not able to eat at the Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte, North Carolina. I hope that the coronavirus disappears just like it appeared. I am sure EVERYONE is ready for his or her lives to return to normal.

Teen Lashayla Stephens (West Forsyth High School). Yes, it’s true that COVID-19 has altered my plans for senior year and I will admit that it’s taken a little getting used to. Online school has been a new and interesting experience for most of us and has presented a challenge in some ways. I am sad that I won’t be able to attend senior prom or spend time with my classmates for the rest of the year, but I am hoping that by taking necessary precautions, we can slow the spread and maintain the health of the community. In the meantime, I have taken to perfecting my craft and spending time on creating artwork as a de-stress activity.

Teen Aaliyah Foskey (East Forsyth High School). The COVID-19 is a global health crisis that is impacting all of us in ways that are unimaginable. For me as a high school senior, the crisis is surreal. My friends and I are heading in separate directions, and we no longer get to cherish our moments together. It’s disappointing getting the news that everything we looked forward to and anticipated with happiness will not happen. No senior prom, track season is over, no more dance practices, or doing any of the things I enjoy. There’s so much uncertainty. Everything happened so fast, emotions everywhere. As it gets closer to graduation, I still don’t know what to expect. But I’m still excited for my new journey. Even though I’ve been bored, I always turn the bad into good. I’ve been spending more time with my parents and realizing how grateful I am. But also thinking of ways of how I can make up for everything! So, to all my seniors out there, my advice to you is to stay positive and hopefully everything will be okay!

Teen Brania Higgs (Atkins Academic and Technology High School). As a senior in 2020, the coronavirus has heavily affected my last potentially memorable moments. Although I graduated in January, I won’t be able to have my senior prom night. Prom night is the one night you can dress up, take pictures, and party with your classmates. I have great empathy for all the seniors who missed their junior prom expecting another chance. This virus has interfered with many spring sports and activities. It prohibited many athletes from playing a sport they love which could have been their last time. I hope and pray this does not affect graduation. Graduation is the most important event of all. I’ve worked hard for 13 years and I deserve to walk across the stage. If we all practice social distancing and clean procedures, we can beat this virus and give my class their senior year back.

Teen Ryann Stephens (Atkins Academic and Technology High School). The coronavirus has left a big impact on me and it has me curious about what will happen next with this being my senior year. I was looking forward to events like prom and graduation, but I’m worried that it won’t happen now with everything that is going on. However, the situation has helped me with patience and value.

Teen Jhanee’ Welch (Parkland Magnet High School). COVID-19 has taken away the remainder of my senior activities, such as awards day, prom, and possibly even graduation ceremony. It makes me feel like the 13 years of school I just accomplished weren’t important. And to others, it may not seem like a big deal, but the thought of not being able to walk across a stage and get my diploma crosses my mind every day of this school closure break. I’ve tried to stay positive though, as this outbreak has allowed for me to spend more time with my family and take a break from the stress of senior year. 

Teen Gregory Gordon (Atkins Academic and Technology High School). The coronavirus has definitely had an impact on my life. It has been changed completely. I am currently a senior in high school and I am curious to see what will happen with our graduation ceremony. On a more positive note, we can all use this period to spend time with our families.

Teen Trinity Barr (Walkertown High School). With COVID-19, I believe that the positive part is that people are getting time for themselves and time to fix things while in their households. The negative things I would say about it is my senior year. It is completely over due to this virus. I can’t participate in my senior activities and possibly not walk across the stage. I just hope that what God is doing is for the best! 

Teen Joshua McCravey (Walkertown High School). “Negativity – the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.” With the tragic events of the coronavirus, it has many effects on my life and current situation in different ways, but not the ways they are usually presented by most teenagers. Yes, I am mad and angry about the fact all senior activities like prom and graduation may not happen. But how I am really affected is in the way that I see my peers and the people around me. In some cases, for many people, this has brought out the kind-hearted nature in many people, but to me, in my eyes and using my perspective, I have seen that people are oftentimes simple-minded and often act out of their negative emotions and tendencies at times of great need. Yes, there is a lot of love spread around, but in the same vein, there is a lot of nastiness being shown at this time, from the president to the casual people I see on Twitter and Instagram. I think we need to spread more love in a time like this, and less hate, for our own sakes.

Teen Aria Bryson (Parkland Magnet High School). When I first heard about the virus, I wasn’t too worried. I would wake up, go to school and come back home. It was my normal schedule. Like any other senior, I was excited for upcoming events. Prom was in two months and graduation was on its way. I was excited to make my last few memories with my friends. It wasn’t until the afternoon before my scholarship ball that I heard from a friend that the North Carolina governor had said, “N.C. schools shall be closed for two weeks.” I still wasn’t worried, I was happy. Happy because I didn’t have school, but something would change that within those two weeks. I still didn’t know the full capacity of COVID-19. I knew it was a pandemic, but I didn’t know how contagious and fast growing it was. I would watch CNN and our local news channels to be informed about COVID-19. The more and more I was informed, the more I worried. I worried about my grandmother, who works in healthcare and is in the category of being affected. It hit home for me. The United States President Donald Trump implemented social distancing until April 30 and the North Carolina Governor pushes the date of going back to school to May 15th. Many of my friends were sad and so was I. We knew our prom was canceled, something we all were looking forward to, but something else was in the back of our minds – graduation. We have worked 13 years for this moment. A moment that we knew our parents were finally proud of us. A moment that could be ripped away so easily if we don’t take the proper precautions of the stay-at-home and social distancing orders. To my class of 2020, we will be OK! We will conquer and be strong! 

Teen Maurice Cager (Mt. Tabor High School). I feel like my senior year got ruined because of this COVID-19 virus. There were many things my school planned for us seniors, but now we can’t do those things because of this virus. 

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