Class of 2021: I didn’t have a traditional senior year of high school. Maybe that’s OK.

My team made it to the second round of our athletic conference’s Los Angeles soccer playoffs in 2019, but on the way to the game I got a headache and it got so bad I couldn’t play. I was relieved when we went up 2-0 and figured I’d be better in time for our next game. But our opponent made a comeback and beat us. I took it hard. I was a sophomore, and I blamed myself for our loss and vowed never to let my teammates down again.

On the bus heading back to school, we were miserable, especially the seniors who had played their last high school soccer game. I didn’t even want to imagine what that felt like, but then my junior year I made the difficult decision to focus on academics – with two AP classes and three community college classes – and skipped the 2019-20 season, determined to make the most of my senior season as a team leader on and off the field.

That would have been this year, if there had been a season. As it turned out, my last high school soccer game was the one I couldn’t play in.

Not knowing what we are missing

When I was a kid, I used to imagine a future with flying cars and space commuting. I never thought the future would give us high school through a computer screen.

There are definite benefits for me. I haven’t had to spend hours on crowded buses ready to react if a fight breaks out or someone wants to bother me. I don’t miss having to ask teachers to go to the bathroom or hearing them yell at students who get out of line. I’ve always found a way to get my work done and keep my grades up, and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that.

It isn’t always easy. My brother and sister won’t use headphones, so I often have to take my classes outside to concentrate. Sometimes things get loud at the drug rehab right next door to us, but I try my best to focus.

I also try not to think about all the things my friends and I are missing out on. Like being together for our last year of high school. The lunchtime soccer games, the conversations, the clowning and flirting, the drama, but most of all just hanging out with each other. You can try to do that on social media, but it’s not the same.

I’ve never really expected that much out of school. For me it was the place I had to go, the elementary around the corner, the middle school down the street and the high school 5 miles away. But I guess I did come to expect something for my hard work, and part of that was a homecoming game, a halftime tribute to the senior athletes, a prom, senior ditch day and the chance to pull off a senior prank.

A new discrimination policy: Asian American students have a target on their backs thanks to critical race theory

You hear adults talk about all the memories of their senior year and that’s when it hurts – you realize you might miss it more in five or 10 years than you do right now.

Disappointments and opportunities

I graduate next month, and it has been a year of disappointments. Last summer, a lot of us still thought we’d have a relatively normal senior year. When we realized that wouldn’t happen, most of us still hoped we’d be back on campus for second semester and have some senior fun. Now it’s May. Our prom would probably be happening right now, and I think maybe some people are still praying for a miracle.

Maybe we’ve learned from the experience not to get our hopes up. Or at least to expect the unexpected. A lot of people I know have learned to make the best of a bad situation.

Only 15% of our students are here: We’re finally back to school after COVID-19 but it’s complicated, confusing and strange

For me that has been working with my father. He has been teaching me about building and construction since I was 9, but mostly on small projects around the house. I didn’t always want to work with him, but looking back now I realize how valuable those experiences have been. Not just the skills I’ve acquired, but also how it kept me out of trouble. All those summers I spent working with him, a lot of the other boys in my neighborhood were hanging out at the park and joining gangs.

José Escobedo in the treehouse he built with his father in May 2021 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Family handout)

During the pandemic, my dad and I built a treehouse for my younger siblings out of old scrap wood and old windows. We converted someone’s garage into a studio apartment, and I learned all about raising walls, installing tile, running electricity, building kitchen cabinets and laying down floors. After that we did other jobs all over the city.

My dad taught me a lot on those jobs. Not just how to install power outlets and sinks or how to cut tile and things like that. He taught me about planning ahead and solving problems when things don’t go as planned. He taught me about safety, about self-awareness at all times. I mean safe with electricity and safe with people who can sometimes be unpredictable.

I don’t know what my future holds. One thing this past year has taught all of us, I guess, is that we never really know the future. Whatever I do and wherever I end up, I’ll probably always feel a little emptiness about my senior year that never happened, but I’ll also be glad, really glad, for the extra time I spent with my dad and all the things he taught me.

José Escobedois an honor student and high school senior in South Los Angeles. He will graduate in June having already earned two Associate of Arts degrees from community college.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article

click fraud detection