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Hello, Senioritis...

And hello, students of Bella Vista. It’s official, we’re back, better, and more Bronco than ever.

That’s how we want to feel, how we should feel, but it's not actually being reciprocated on campus. Why not? I’d like to introduce, to all readers, something I’ve dubbed Senioritis Type B. We’re all aware of the classic attendance-consuming senioritis, the type that leads to missed assignments, classes being skipped, culminating in Senior Ditch day, but this year more than ever, seniors at Bella Vista see less motivation, and for new reasons.

Last year was a tough year for everyone, and dozens if not hundreds of students are returning to this school year unprepared; whether that be due to their lack of attention to school or their teacher’s inability to get through enough of the curriculum. We all know people like that in at least one of our classes, and we all should have expected it.

Also during the last year (if you haven’t heard), massive amounts of social unrest swept our country, our state, possibly even our own communities and homes, and many Bella Vista students went through their own rapid maturity and tasted the “real world” earlier than in previous years. School shut down to a virus, itself the center of many controversies, regarding its deadliness and its origins. We watched as an entire summer was used for discourse over civil rights in the country. We saw the most controversial election by far in twenty years - or, you could say, the most controversial election by far in our entire lives. We watched, on an early Wednesday morning, the Capital of the United States stormed, and the subsequent impeachment of the President (for the second time). We saw our governor face a recall election. We saw Americans stranded in a foreign country as our government (thankfully) pulled out of a 2 decade long war. Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, young or old, black or white, male or female or other, you cannot deny the significance these events have had on our state, country, and generation for better and for worse. We sat pretty and watched, as 16 and 17 year olds, what our parents and grandparents believed to be “the United States” crumbled in just - yes - 19 months.

The bulk of us did not look forward to this year. To juniors and sophomores, you have to keep in mind that my grade, the Class of 22, has had one full year of high school, our Freshman year; and my genuine sympathy does go out to the Classes of 23 and 24 who experienced similar circumstances. Yes, my sophomore year came close to a full year, but who can remember anything before the Great Big Year of Everything happened?

The bulk of us do not look forward to the future. We are lost. We maybe would have been more motivated to think about our future if we could know that we even had one. Alas, we are thrown into our lives that we held 19 months ago and everything is put back into its tense place, a shackle of an illusion of what once was our lives, marked by routine and unchecked authorities, held together by rubber bands and old scotch tape? This is not the typical senioritis past years would’ve been diagnosed with. That is what has brought me to dub Senioritis Type B.

We’re afraid to poke the sleeping bear. We can collectively sigh in class at the notion of another lockdown, having gone through one we share that pain with our teachers. But do we really want to address what we went through, at least honestly, actually? No. Of course we don’t. We don’t want to talk about the serious [mental] destabilizing that went on over the last 19 months. We don’t want to address what actually happened to students because that would mean bringing up the controversy; going down a rabbit hole that we would rather ignore. The fact of the matter is though, students are bringing it up. Student Government is attempting to reach out to the student body, and I must say that while I love their attempts and I really respect the people in the positions that are putting out those attempts, they’re futile. Can’t we all just come together and say, “what the hell?”

Seniors are starting to realize that this whole “school” thing is kind of a sham. Students have tasted the real world, why do we need to hide from it for another year? It just feels like a useless attempt to try and push all five hundred of us back into a box that we don’t want to be in.

I saw the world explode, but now I have to remember to do my precalculus homework, or… what? I’ll use a late pass?

The incentive to work just isn’t there anymore. You could say our eyes have been opened or some bumper-sticker phrase like that, but I wouldn’t. We’ve seen the world as it has never been, coincidentally while we weren’t in school, and for no reason I’m expected to conform into a position I held 19 months ago with that position not having conformed to the modern times at all.

I’ve spoken to a few students about this, they understand and feel the very same way. I don’t feel like a studious student, scratching tick marks into a cell wall, counting down the days till I graduate with honor ready to take my first steps into adulthood. Bella Vista seniors feel like we’ve grown, the school hasn’t, and we’re being comedically placed into our freshman year lives again. This time we’re wearing masks though, and it’s depression awareness month. But here’s a smiley face for you to put on your phone case, Hydroflask, or classroom floors, and make sure you get your homework done on time otherwise there’ll be a BIG penalty. I just gotta figure the penalty out first.

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