Farewell, Sion. I’ll Miss You.

As my senior year is cut short due to COVID-19, I say goodbye to my school and my high school experience.

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Maleah Downton

As I say goodbye to Sion, due to the closure of in-person classes for the remainder of the year, I reflect back on these past four years. Pictured is my friend group, seniors Maya Scott, Inaya Khan and Tehya Frederick, and I at the color fun event freshman and senior year.

Maleah Downton, Web Editor-in-Chief

You never know when something is your last time until it is. Leaving school Thursday, March 12, I sped outside of the building as quickly as possible. It was just another day at school. Eager for spring break, I didn’t turn back when I left. Now, I wish that I did.

Yesterday, Thursday, April 9, Governor Mike Parson ordered the closure of in-person classes in Missouri schools for the remainder of the school year. This follows the initial closure that was enacted by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ stay-at-home order March 21. After having been away from school for nearly a month now, I am at a loss for words. The realization that I will never return to class in my pink senior polo and gray kilt skirt has finally sunk in. 

The coronavirus has shifted my senior year experience entirely. I say this not out of entitlement or ignorance. I fully acknowledge that the rollercoaster of emotions I feel now is far from the pain so many are suffering at the hands of COVID-19. This pandemic is serious and should not be taken lightly. 

People are sick. People are dying. Our world is experiencing immense trauma right now. My heart swells with so much empathy and compassion towards the thousands affected by the virus and the many essential workers fighting on the front lines. The school closures and stay-at-home orders are a necessity, and I am so grateful that our society is taking these necessary measures of precaution. 

However, simultaneously my heart still mourns my senior year. I’ve always dreamed of my second semester of senior year. I pictured it as this period of relaxation. Free of college applications, we’d finally have the time to relish in our successes. We’d have the time to reflect back on these past four years. We’d celebrate reaching the finish line together. 

Now, however, our journey to the finish line has changed. Attending my virtual classes Tuesday through Friday, I can’t help but feel cheated from this experience. How can I just say goodbye? 

Goodbye. I always knew saying goodbye to high school would be hard. I just never expected to have to do so under these conditions. Who knew it would take a pandemic to make me realize just how much I’d taken for granted. 

I wish I told my teachers more just how much I appreciate their efforts. I wish I told my classmates more just how much I appreciated their cooperation in learning. I have been lucky to learn and grow in the most supportive, cooperative and encouraging environment. Sion is my home. Within the walls of Sion, I felt the safest. I felt loved. I felt supported. 

It is so hard now to suddenly give all of that up. I love Sion. Immensely. My heart warms just remembering the memories and friendships I’ve built. As my time at Sion has been cut short, I try to hold on to these memories. I will always have them. A pandemic could never take that away. I will always be a Sion girl. 

As we all finish off the school year virtually, I hope that these memories will keep us strong. We only have a few more weeks until the end. Let’s ride out this journey together. I can’t wait to see you all at graduation. I am so eager for our futures. Though COVID-19 presented a hurdle in our plans, we still have so much to look forward to. 

With this excitement for the future, I find my courage to say goodbye. Sion has trained us. They’ve raised us up to fly, and now is our time. Though early, we are all ready and well equipped to enter into this world independently. Together we spread our wings and prepare for our flight—the journey of life ahead of us. 

Farewell, Sion. I’ll Miss You. 

We’ll Miss You.