COOS BAY — The Marshfield valedictorians had plenty to say.
In the final days leading up to Saturday’s graduation, the six seniors talked with The World all about the last three months. Spring term was supposed to be a time full of lasts: last prom, last track meet, last assembly, last day of school.
Instead these seniors have not been to in-person classes since March 11.
The following is a look at how Marshfield’s six valedictorians — Kaylee Delzotti, Edie Clarke, Liam Webster, Hannah Mork, Brianna Giacomini and McKena Pederson — made it through high school during a global pandemic.
Edie Clarke: When I left school on the last day I remember telling my friends, kind of jokingly, “See you on the other side.” Then we never came back and I think that’s kind of a surreal moment.
Liam Webster: Vividly I remember walking in the hall on the last day of school with a teacher … asking him questions because stuff was starting to pop up about the next week being cancelled, which was the week before spring break. Mr. Johnson was like, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets cancelled and I’m not even sure about after that.” That just struck me. I was like, that’s crazy that this could actually happen.
Brianna Giacomini: At first it was shock. It definitely went from shock to confusion to being left in the dark and not knowing what was going to happen. Being really uncertain about everything. Then it quickly went to disappointment when everything started to get cancelled and all of the things we were looking forward to aren’t going to happen anymore. As time went on, we just kind of got used to it because that’s all you can really do.
McKena Pederson: When the announcement came out that they were cancelling it until April, then things started getting real and we started getting a bit more sad. And then it led to school being closed for the year and there were a lot of tears
Kaylee Delzotti: In the beginning I guess it was really hard, it was so foreign to all of us, like how do we even do this? How are we going to continue our senior year?
We just adapted over time and it just became like a second language to us. Just to check in regularly, just to make sure we’re on top of all of our school work. Teachers have also adjust really well to it. At the beginning it was kind of awkward because it was like ... 'how much school work should I give? Are you overwhelmed?' They don’t know because we don’t ever see them face-to-face so they don’t actually know how we’re doing. But I think it was handled really, really well.
Hannah Mork: Well, at first I was like confused — wait, so do I need to complete my physics homework or not? Then I got the call … and she’s like, “No, you’re done for the year.” And I was like, “No what do you mean by that though?” And she was like, “You’re done, you don’t have to do anything anymore.” And I was like sitting next to my stack of completed physics homework going, are you kidding me?
Liam Webster: I think I kept reminding myself it will get better and that it’s just temporary. But it was crazy, especially getting to the end of senior year you start hanging out with your friends a lot and getting the most out of your time and then all of a sudden it just transitions quick to not hanging out every Friday or Saturday or whatever.
Kaylee Delzotti: It’s been really difficult. But to an extent, I’ve learned that I’m more of an extrovert than introvert. It’s been interesting just to figure that out and like okay, I can just FaceTime my friends every night. A few of my friends we’ve met up in parking lots and just sat on top of our cars and talked and just caught up. It’s been kind of a wild ride with the social aspect of life.
Brianna Giacomini: I think that some of the things that hit us the hardest as seniors was losing all of those big landmarks of graduating. Like our senior prom and our last chance at state in our sports and events. We missed out on a lot of that last bonding opportunities and the celebration of the fact that we made it. That we did it, that we accomplished what we had set out to accomplish. And we didn’t really have a chance to celebrate that together.
Kaylee Delzotti: Missing out in sports, especially track, that was kind of disappointing. I was the captain so I was really sad that I didn’t get to lead the team this year through our meets and practices and everything else with them. So that was really, really sad.
Hannah Mork: The awards that we do at the end of every year for student academics, I was never chosen for one of those. And I’m like dude I’m valedictorian, how the heck is this happening? I am excelling in excellence somewhere. I was holding out hope this year and was really bummed we didn’t have that assembly because I was like … my one time … I haven’t got any got any awards from Marshfield until this year and all of those assemblies were cancelled.
But there is also the upside to that is that they were forced to make slide shows that will be imprinted on the world forever because nothing leaves the internet.
McKena Pederson: (On Thursday) we had our practice parade for our graduation on Saturday and it was honestly just a huge shock to suddenly be around everyone once again that we haven’t seen in months. I really have missed my friends and being able to be around them constantly.
Liam Webster: It’s a huge feeling of relief and definitely excitement now that we‘re actually done and it’s objectively right here and we can finally check it off on the list even though these last couple of months have been such a weird position where you’re still sort of in school but not in school. So to finally have the date where you’re completely done and like can take your cb.k12 account off your computer will be like a huge relief.
Brianna Giacomini: I don’t think anyone in my class would have imagined that we are graduating the way that we are. But it is really nice to know that everyone still supports us and cares about us and are proud of us. So I’m going to make the most of it if it’s all I get to have for the end of my senior year. I plan on enjoying it.
When I look back at this point in time, I think what I’m going to think about the most is how no matter how crazy the world is, we can still pull through and accomplish big things even if you don’t think that it’s going to happen. Things don’t always work out the way you want them to but it will work out somehow in the end.
Kaylee Delzotti: I’m definitely going to remember the time that I got to spend with my family before I left for college. Some of the final memories I had with my childhood friends. Even though we weren’t exactly close, physically, due to all this happening we definitely got to spend some quality time together through just the small things. That’s what I’ll remember.
It’s definitely been a ride.
Edie Clarke: I feel like this has brought out the best and the worst of people but mostly the best. I feel like we’ve really come together and like my community has been a little more supportive than usual and everybody is just together in this and I think that will stand out. Just how different it was. It’s totally unlike anything we’ve ever imagined or experienced ever. I don’t know how I’ll ever forget something like this, it’s kind of like you just can’t forget it.
Kaylee Delzotti will be attending Linfield College where she will run track and field and cross country and study biochemistry and molecularly biology; Edie Clarke will be attending University of Utah where she will study ballet and kinesiology; Liam Webster will be attending University of California, Berkeley, where he will study engineering; Hannah Mork will be attending Carroll College in Montana where she will study nursing and be part of the cheer team; Brianna Giacomini will finish up classes at SWOCC this summer before attending Pacific University where she will study engineering and acting; McKena Pederson will be attending Brigham Young University where she will study history.