Slightly more than a dozen seniors gathered in the parking lot of the Layhill Local Park Friday, Oct. 9 for one of a series of student-run activities meant to provide the Class of 2021 with a quasi-normal school year.
Upon MCPS shifting to remote learning for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, many seniors lamented traditional fall activities being cancelled or indefinitely postponed. With many seniors’ last in-person first days of school, homecomings, pep rallies, and sporting events off the table for the foreseeable future, unidentified members of the Class of 2021, who run an Instagram account called Keep It Quiet Seniors, have taken it upon themselves to recreate fall fun in a safe, socially distanced manner.
Regardless of whether or not Blake administration or MCPS Central Office condones these activities, seniors are determined to see their peers and engage in modified in-person activities before they graduate Blake and move on to life after high school. Noticing that administration and MCPS as a whole fell short in holding modified in-person festivities for the Class of 2020, members of the Class of 2021 acted swiftly to hold CDC guideline-compliant activities even before this school year began.
Friday’s social outing involved decorating personal vehicles with car-safe markers, eating candy, and talking to one another. Masks were required when attendees were not eating candy.
Senior Elizabeth Rojas found out about the event through the Keep It Quiet Seniors Instagram account and she expresses she’s grateful that these mystery students organized this under the table event. “It’s a way to be in touch with our classmates while having social distance,” Rojas says. “Seeing my friends again after a while [was nice].” In the future, Rojas hopes to see this secret band of seniors organize other outdoor, socially-distanced activities like a field day.
“I haven’t been out in a while and I think it’s nice to do something that didn’t involve [close] interaction between people,” says Senior Sophia Myers. “We’re not in school and things are different and people usually look forward to their senior years with things like football games and homecoming, so I think it’s important to have these sorts of community building activities.” Myers hopes to see a bake sale to raise funds for the Class of 2021 in the future if it is safe to do so.
Senior Brooke Ellis says, “It’s nice to see all the people I haven’t seen since quarantine and to be outside.”
It is evident that students are missing these small, basic interactions with their classmates and spending more time outside of their homes.
The students wish Blake administration and MCPS as a whole would find safe, creative ways to run the school-sanctioned social activities seniors desperately want to enjoy one last time. “I wish the rules [for holding activities] weren’t as strict,” senior Saron Aklog says. “I understand it’s [coronavirus] season, but I feel like there are ways around that.”
“I just want to see more events happen where we can come together,” says senior Josh Mims.
Students at the event were not aware of plans for future social activities.