Seniors in Two Weeks: Class of 2022 Reflects on Entering their Senior Year


Paulina Asauluke, Reporter

They left school thinking they would be back in two weeks—but a terrible masked world stole more than a year of their social and school life. 

The class of 2022 were just sophomores when COVID-19 shut down most California schools. The two week quarantine turned into a lockdown that lasted for over a year.

Just like that, 10th graders left Venice for two weeks and returned as the graduating class. 

“I feel like everyone has missed out during this pandemic, especially socially,” said senior Santha Nallengara, a student in the STEMM Magnet. “It almost feels like I leaped forward in time, and rushed into the college application process.” 

Coming back from summer break for the last time was a memorable day for twelfth graders.

“There’s a mix of emotions going into my final year of high school,” said senior Ann Watkins. “The first day of school was kind of a bittersweet moment. Especially knowing it was the last time my mom was going to get to drop me off for the first time.” 

For senior Kieran Casenas, a player on the varsity soccer team, coming back to in-person instruction felt like a huge relief. 

“I’m happy to be back in person,” he said. “ I couldn’t handle doing any more online schooling. It just didn’t feel right.” 

Casenas’ optimistic mood is also shared by senior Emily Catalan, a student in the Academy of Law and Public Service.

“I am ecstatic about coming back,” she said. “I enjoy my time away from my family as much as I love my family. The best kind of family is the kind you make and build on your own.’ 

Despite all challenges, students keep a positive attitude and look forward to accomplishing their plans this year. 

“My goal is to finish everything on time and try to have fun,” Nallengara said. “It is our last year of high school, and we should aim to succeed, but also enjoy ourselves a bit.” 

Rather than focusing on the past, students like Watkins prefer to concentrate on the future.

“Honestly I’m really just in that full steam ahead thought process with senior year,” Watkins said. “I’ve met with both my academic and college counselor, so I know what I really need to be focusing on—and at this point it’s just time to get down to business.”

The students have not only hopes for this upcoming year, but also ambitious post high-school plans.

“I plan to go into the film industry in college to become a screenwriter, director, and head concept artist,” Catalan said. “I wish to produce my own show one day. I’m not going to stop until I’ve earned my throne.”

Not even a worldwide pandemic and limited scouting could stop Watkins from taking her sports achievements to a higher level.

“I am planning on going to college, and I’m really striving to play college softball as well,” she said. “I’m going to major in something environmental or sustainability-related.”

Nallengara wants to continue her education at either UCLA or Harvard and pursue a career as a surgeon.

 “I don’t come from a wealthy family, so I have been working hard to earn some money with modeling just to pay for college,”  she said.

Some of the senior students still ponder what’s ahead. They prefer to see where the journey of life will take them. 

“I still don’t know what to do entirely,” Caseñas said. “But I plan to do computer science in college, specifically cyber security and just see what goes from there.”

Instead of just two short weeks, yesterday’s tenth graders were forced into isolation, to socialize with their four walls for more than a year. 

Now these Zoomers are just one step away from starting a new chapter of their lives.