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Seniors ache for a few moments more: Class of 2020


May 1, 2020

The Cloquet High School Class of 2020

The Pine Knot News contacted seniors in Cloquet, Esko, Wrenshall and Carlton this past week after they learned the state extended its order to keep students out of schools through the final month of the school year to guard against the spread of COVID-19. Cloquet senior Caleb Swanson, a writer for the Pine Knot News, collected most of the following comments from seniors, including his own.


Caleb Swanson

High school is a funny thing. We get there, we learn, we grow, and we get attached to it. But as ready as anyone can be to move on, no one ever seems really ready enough. My class, the class of 2020, was beginning to let go of our numerous years together when our safe northern Minnesota lives became seemingly under attack. No one could've guessed this is how we'd end our high school careers. Our lives, soon to be completely new, have been changed whether we like it or not. This is what some of the seniors from around the county think of our situation.

Personally, I try not to dwell on the negative sides of losing the end of my senior year. Don't get me wrong, it makes me sad. But I know I can't do much to change anything, besides having a positive attitude. Life has really slowed down. I am happy to see so many people on walks and enjoying the nature we often took for granted. The class of 2020 only has a few more weeks of online learning before we graduate. With so many people worried and saddened about the missed ceremonies and maybe their last sports season, we can only keep moving forward. Thank you to the CHS staff for working tirelessly to make something out of our situation for the senior class. Thank you to all of my classmates for making the past four years unforgettable.

Josh South

When we first entered distance learning I had a feeling we wouldn't be back. And though this was a hard pill to swallow, I knew it was for the best. I was able to separate myself from something that, although maybe memorable, is not a make-or-break life moment and see the benefits of this social distancing. ... I know I'll be able to see my friends again soon; and healthy. Leaving CHS early is definitely sad but the countless memories, lessons, and friendships will always be with me.

Jake Sutherland

This year I went in with a lot of excitement, hearing about the things you get to do as a senior. When I first heard of the coronavirus, I was expecting it to be controlled in Asia and Europe. I was denying any chance it would affect us. Then as spring break was coming, the news of the extension came, I was very happy to do less school. Soon into the break, the restrictions of quarantine hit and I was still denying the chance of anything bad happening. As two weeks became a month, my hope ran out as (in-person) school was canceled. I'll admit, it has hit me hard. Online school is hard to adapt from face-to-face schooling. Not only that, with no teacher to keep us doing our work, I procrastinate a lot. My favorite memories are from the smash tourneys I host or of the fall musical. I can't wait to get out of quarantine to do other things.

Jake Huhta

It sucks not being able to see your friends and teachers every day at school. I'm sad that I can't play my senior year of baseball. And to top it all off I can't walk across the stage with my best friends to get my diploma. COVID-19 took my senior year away.

Otto Cockburn

It's hard not seeing your friends every day and I always imagined school would end differently. Online isn't too bad but it can be hard to stay organized.

Maddie Dostal

As a student who has tried to never take school for granted and especially as an individual who thrives in a school environment, losing out on the last months of my senior year can only be described as heartbreak. For the past 12 years, and specifically the past four, I've worked crazy hard to create relationships with my peers and school staff, earn great grades, and be involved with sports and extracurriculars. So graduation, my last letter winners banquet, senior skip day, and more were going to act as closure and provide some finality to a high school career that I've put my heart and soul into. I've been coming to terms with losing these events and opportunities, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten about them or am happy about this situation.

My heart hurts for the community, my friends, my teachers, my lost opportunities, and seniors everywhere. I urge everyone to not to devalue the heartbreak but I also recognize that this era in our lives will be formative in the future that the class of 2020 is going to create. I know it's cliche, but a sense of togetherness and toughness will tie us together unlike any other class. I truly believe this time has taught us all a lot about ourselves, our world, and the lives we want in order to create an impact. I take so much pride in being able to call myself a Lumberjack, and am beyond grateful to Cloquet High School for handling this unprecedented situation with equality, intention, and hope.

Carter Larson

Honestly, I couldn't care less about the graduation ceremony. As long as I can have a graduation party with my family, I'm fine. Distance learning is hard because I'm an expert procrastinator and have no motivators.

Gracie Chartier

When I found out I would never go back to high school again, I was devastated. I was looking forward to everything the end of senior year had in store. There were so many events I was excited to attend but now can't. This abrupt ending makes me feel like I took high school for granted. I'm gonna miss CHS and will forever wish I could've had more time.

Lexy Serafin

While I understand it's important, I'm extremely upset about no school and an online learning extension. As a senior, I don't get a senior banquet. I don't get my final track season. I don't get the last moments with my class. It feels surreal and it feels like everything's being taken away.

I'm going to cherish the memories I was able to make at Cloquet High School - Mr. Zimny joking with the class or driving Eli Lah home jamming to Big Time Rush. It was playing tennis and getting Subway with Lucy for lunch almost every day. It was Warming House dates and track meets and bonds that can only be formed from a 400-hurdle workout. I'm grateful for all of the memories I've made and the amazing people I got to share them with. Although I've gotten no closure on my last 13 years of life, I love the class of 2020.

Patrice Eakman

Learning away from school has definitely been interesting. The lack of structure and schedule was a bit of an alarming change in the beginning. I had a lot of feelings of anxiety and uncertainty and had a hard time imagining life moving forward under these new circumstances.

My teachers have been absolutely wonderful and have made the transition as comfortable as I could have hoped. They've made communication easily accessible and are somehow as supportive through a screen as they are in class. So the education aspects of distance learning have been fairly productive for me so far.

Socializing has been much different though. I'm so grateful we live in a time with cellphones and FaceTime, but it's not the same. I haven't been around people outside my family in over a month, and as much as I adore my family, being out of touch with my peers hurts. I've spent a lot of time feeling sad and lethargic and my motivation levels have been low. I already was upset throughout the year knowing the time I had with my friends was running out, and having it taken away unexpectedly like this has been very disheartening.

Overall, I've been able to accept these changes in order to hopefully better this pandemic, but it's still been a rough transition. I miss being able to laugh and sing and dance with my friends. I wish I had more time to play dumb theatre games and soak in my last show as a high school student. This time was supposed to be the last hurrah of childhood, and this has definitely been a bit of a rude, premature awakening.


Jenna Zdebski

I am extremely sad that I will not be able to see my classmates and teachers. In our small community, the staff of EHS really cares for their students. I want to give a shout out to Mr. Gray, Mr. Farrow, and Mr. Arntson for continuing to make us smile. I do not believe that distance learning should be extended into the summer, it's hard enough for the time being.

Isabelle Propp

As a senior it's been really hard. None of us really knew it was going to be our last day at EHS as a student. If I were an underclassman I would have loved this, but senior year is supposed to be the best year of high school and we got that taken from us.

Ella Magnuson

Hearing that school was going to be canceled for the rest of the year really broke my heart. As a senior, I was looking forward to my last quarter of school. I heard it's the best one. I'm really going to miss walking the halls of Esko, the school I've attended for the past 13 years. My teachers became my friends and my classmates became my family. I'll miss the class of 2020 a lot and I wish we had the proper goodbye.

Abby Rudnicki

My thoughts are very bittersweet. I'm excited for the future, for college, and for all my opportunities. But it is upsetting that I wasn't able to process my last day of high school and to not have that closure; to miss out on my final memories I would have been able to create before I graduate.


Alexis Perry

Senior year was supposed to be a good year, but things have gone differently. It makes me sad I won't be able to step on the softball field my senior year with my team or give a proper goodbye to my friends, teachers, and the school. It is crazy to think we won't have a normal graduation either. Senior year is nothing but memories now.

Randy Wimmer

It really is a bummer. I had to miss my senior year of baseball and I was feeling really good about it. I don't like doing all this online schooling and stuff like that. It's not my style. I want to be with my friends and walk across that stage with them. But now that's all ruined. I just hope no one else has to go through this. Getting things ripped away from you is really hard to deal with.

Isaiah Johnson

The way senior year ended wasn't ideal for any of us. Spring of our senior year is supposed to be filled with memories of going on our class trip and working hard for our senior spring sports. We lost out on a lot of opportunities and memories we would have had with our friends for the last time before we start our new lives. We will miss out on a lot of things. But this is something that has to be done and we have to look at the bigger picture keeping other people safe.


Ben Soderstrom

I'm kind of bummed about all the senior activities getting canceled and not being able to spend the rest of the year with my friends. But at the same time, I know the circumstances right now are unlike anything we've seen before. As of right now I just hope my friends and family can make it through the virus without being harmed.

Spencer Hoeffling

I'm super bummed about not being able to get back to school. Senior year is the last year you get to spend with your friends and the kids who you've grown up with through school - the last year when we'll all be together. Many students look forward to special events that take place senior year like prom, graduation and sports seasons. Many memories are made through high school, but senior year has some very special ones. Sadly, we don't get to make some of those memories. I'm not even sure if we'll get the chance to sign each other's yearbooks.

Brynne Mickle

For me, losing my senior softball season hurts the most. You work so hard at something for such a long time, and then it's over just like that, and there's nothing you can do about it. I just wanted one more shot to leave it all on the field. Unfortunately, our senior class doesn't get that chance.

Justin Swanson

I think this is really tough for a lot of people including me. I really wish my senior year hadn't ended up like this because I've spent 12 years working hard to graduate. Every day I think of more things that I don't get to experience for the last time or even the first time. Today I just realized that I don't get to go around signing yearbooks, which I always loved to do. Hopefully, this wasn't all for nothing.

Matt Santkuyl

I think it sucks but it's what has to happen for everyone's safety.

Ava Grondahl

I'm obviously really devastated about everything being canceled. We went to school for 12 years just to miss out on the best three months of it. I'm not the biggest fan of school being pushed out into the summer because I feel like that's even more time taken away from us before we go to college.


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