(Updated: adding video, comments from seniors)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Thea Brown and Gabriel Favia are spending their last few days walking the halls of Realms High School, getting ready to graduate. As we all know, and have lived in recent years, Central Oregon’s high school Class of 2022 has been through it all.
Starting high school in a relatively “normal” world, then being moved to learning virtually in a global pandemic, to returning to schools and then being able to graduate in person — coming full circle.
“I definitely didn’t expect all of the changes that were going to occur,” Brown said Friday, reflecting on when the pandemic hit.
But the Class of 2022 — like the two classes before it — is a resilient one.
When asked to describe their high school experience in one word, both students had different but similar answers. Favia said “whiplash,” while Brown described it as “chaotic.”
However, both of them say their high school experience taught them more than just math or English. Brown says she learned a lot outside the classroom.
“It brought about a lot of determination and a lot of values that definitely the school holds,” she said. “And I got good experience applying those values in my own life and my own education.”
“And when it comes to the last four years, it benefitted me greatly in terms of perseverance,” she added.
The Class of 2022 will come full circle, ending high school how they started it, something Favia says means more after a few unorthodox years.
“Part of me is really grateful for that, because you take really small things like being able to grab your diploma in person for granted,” Favia said. “It seems like something — like, ‘Oh, everybody does that, it’s not something special.'”
“But when it comes down to it, it is special. It’s something that you work for and then it’s kind of like your transition into entering the adult world,” Favia added.
After graduation, Brown plans on attending Montana State University to major in either psychology or economics. Favia is headed to Oregon State in Corvallis, to study political science.
While the Class of 2022 has been through a lot, the lessons they’ve learned — beyond the classroom included — will last a lifetime.
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