As with people the world over, Mercy high school students found their lives put on hold this spring when the global coronavirus pandemic forced schools, communities and whole countries to close and go into lockdown. Mercy students continued their educations virtually and, at the same time, found ways to support their communities spiritually and materially. MESA (Mercy Education System of the Americas) asked a group of graduating seniors how they continue to “Make Mercy Real” during a pandemic, and how they will carry this strange time forward after high school. Whether in Jamaica, the Bronx or Omaha, their responses shared a mournfulness for what has been lost but hope for the future. Here are their stories. [Read Part 1 here]
My Mercy Skirt
By Caitlyn Thomas, Class of 2020 at Mercy High School in Omaha, Nebraska
My “show and tell” item that I would bring to freshman orientation would be my high school skirt. I go to an all-girls Catholic school, and I’ve loved every moment of my adventure. This skirt has represented all my failures and accomplishments, all the tears of sadness and all the laughs and giggles of success. Most importantly, it has represented who I am as a person. I’m a woman who’s determined to change the world by being unafraid to speak her mind. That skirt has walked the hallways with me over the past three years. It’s a constant reminder to me that hard work can get you anywhere. It’s shown me what it means to be a woman, especially a woman of God.
My skirt has been hemmed up, down, in and out, and I think that reflects how I’ve developed as a person. I’ve gone “up”ward with my love of God. I’ve learned to think of the positive things in life and let the negatives go “down.” I’ve grown a lot “in”side myself by learning that not everything in life is going to go as planned, but I’m able to adapt and grow as a person through that.
COVID-19 Will Not Stop Me
By Emra Redzematovic, Class of 2020 at St. Catharine Academy in the Bronx, New York
Ever since freshman year, I dreamed about prom, senior awards night, senior breakfast and graduation. I dreamed about the feelings of pride, happiness and excitement that would overcome me during my last months of high school. Although I cannot have the perfect senior year I pictured, I am happy my family and classmates are healthy during this hectic time. When it comes down to what is most important, I will choose the health and safety of others over the senior year I dreamed of.
Although we wish we could control everything, this virus is something that is out of our hands. Many Americans in general are too comfortable with getting what they want. You can call us spoiled. We want things to go as planned and want things when we want them, no matter the circumstance. Unfortunately, we have to let go of these wants when our health is at risk. We have to give up some of the things we initially planned for or really wanted in order to keep death rates low and contain the virus. Although having a great senior year is a big deal to many students, the risk of having other people catch the virus is a bigger concern.