Senior year will be my most memorable year yet, many said. The adventures I will take and experiences I won’t forget.
Little did we know, our most memorable year would collapse right in front of us. My name is Valery Standridge, and this is my story.
Approaching senior year was bittersweet. Like any other senior, I looked forward to all the events and big decisions. I would have never expected an obstacle, such as a virus, to take that away.
I understand that the decisions made have been for our own safety, but COVID-19 has drastically affected the lives of many. Of course, the constant uncertainty regarding prom and graduation brings sadness. Not knowing if I will have the chance to say goodbye to my teachers or fellow classmates before we go our separate ways is heart-wrenching.
Most of all, my heart goes out to all the parents of seniors who, just like mine, have waited for these special moments in their child’s life. While everyone has their complaints, there is always something to look forward to when going to school. Whether it’s just seeing your friends, or going to a club meeting, everyone had their happy place. My happy place was soccer.
At the beginning of this year, I was contemplating whether I wanted to play the sport I once lived for. I always thought to myself, “is it worth the added stress?” Although I eventually decided to play, I never thought about how I would regret the decision if I didn’t, until now.
Five games into this season and 14 years of hard work and dedication, I can’t help but feel like something had been taken away from me. With the year being cut short, we will have missed out on so many things.
It hurts to think that our memories of special events like prom, graduation, senior day and so many others will never be the same as those before us. The countless memories will no longer be made. The bond between my coach and the rest of the girls would no longer be created. My final year of playing the sport I dreamed of making a future with would go unrecognized.
For the past four years, I have strived to become a better leader while playing varsity soccer. Watching all the girls grow into better players makes me grateful knowing the journey of our soccer program will continue. Growing up I spent many nights watching Richmond soccer, I dreamed of hearing my name called out with the starting lineup. I kept telling myself that one day that would be me and thanks to Coach Howard and Coach Larsen I got to fulfill that dream.
If this pandemic has taught me anything it’s to live life to the fullest day by day. We don’t know what the future holds, so we should enjoy every moment. We should hold our loved ones close and never take the time we have for granted.
Since this experience is so new to everyone, it is hard to tell what the correct way to react is. I truly believe my graduating class has shown so much courage, patience and leadership through this process. If anything, I think the coronavirus has brought us together by sharing the loss of our senior year.
I would like to thank the school faculty as well as the community for remaining positive and encouraging despite everything. It is a difficult time for us all, but it is important to be thankful for what we do have. At the very least, we will always be able to say our senior year is like no other.
This is my story, but this is our year.