Senior Class President Jordan Dahlberg at Westosha Central believes she and her classmates will come out stronger amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Submitted/The Report).

Westosha officers tout strength

By Jason Arndt

High school seniors both locally and nationally find themselves in an unusual position of uncertainty because of COVID-19.

With schools closed the rest of the year, athletic competitions canceled and commencement exercises in limbo, the Class of 2020 can only hope to salvage some traditions.

Jordan Dahlberg, however, and other senior class officers at Westosha Central High School have strived to remain in positive spirits.

Dahlberg, the Senior Class President, encouraged her classmates to persevere amid the challenges they have encountered since schools shut down in mid-March.

“As a senior class president, something I would want to say to my classmates at this difficult time would be that this is only going to make us stronger,” she said. “We are going to appreciate the good moments a little more and laugh a little harder than any other class.”

“We are a part of history.”

Vice President Shelby Serritella agreed, adding the experience offers a new perspective, placing an emphasis on gratitude.

Shelby Serritella, Vice President for the Class of 2020 at Westosha Central, said it is important not to take anything for granted (Submitted/The Report).

“I hope that after this, we will not take anything for granted, because you never know when it can be taken away. Some of us have known each other since kindergarten, or even before, so it is difficult not being together at this time, but I hope that our class appreciates and remembers all of the good times that we have had together,” said Serritella, adding she remains hopeful the Class of 2020 can come together once more before everyone parts ways.

Gift of wings
Serritella and Dahlberg along with treasurer Victoria Desimoni and secretary Gianna Aiello still plan on presenting Westosha Central with the senior class gift.

The class gift, according to Dahlberg, will be a mural or graphic design of falcon’s wings in the school gym.

“We still plan on putting them up and I think the meaning of them is stronger now than ever,” she said. “This class is strong, even when times are tough, just like a falcon.”

Serritella, meanwhile, indicates the mural will allow her class and future graduates to stand in the middle of the falcon for large a photograph.

In addition, she hopes her classmates have an opportunity to sign the falcon, stamping their legacy.

“Hopefully, we will have all of our senior class members sign their names next to wings for a more personalized touch,” she said. “Our class is also trying to plan a get together in the end of the summer before everyone leaves…”

Virtual world
Westosha Central, like thousands of other schools, have conducted online, or virtual, instruction to offset lost time in the classroom.

According to Dahlberg, virtual instruction is a stark contrast compared to traditional learning, but she has been able to adjust because of supportive teachers and administrators.

“Virtual learning has been different without a doubt. I would say it has been pretty different easy for myself all around, even in my AP classes. I think it has been such an easy transition because of the teaching staff and administration. They have put in so much effort to make it easy for us to learn in such unfortunate circumstances,” Dahlberg said.

Serritella, meanwhile, discovered some advantages to virtual learning such as completing coursework earlier.

“I am able to work at my own pace, so I can get things done earlier than I would in school,” she said. “However, it is challenging not being able to see any of my friends or teachers, especially in the last few months of my senior year. I learn better when I am around them.”

Filling the void
Serritella, without having her classmates nearby, has been able to continue contacting them by phone and engages in online games with her friends.

“I have been calling my friends a lot to fill my free times. We try to find games that we can play online together,” said Serritella, who played tennis and volleyball at Westosha Central.

“My family has also been taking a lot of walks/bike rides around our neighborhood. My brother and I have even fixed our old Wii and we have been playing a lot of ‘Just Dance.”

For Dalhberg, a soccer player and cross country athlete, she finds joy in running and has used her free time to fill out scholarship applications.

“I also have had so much time to apply for scholarships and get prepared for college. I was getting nervous when we were at school that I was going to not have time to apply, so this has been a blessing in disguise.”

Meanwhile, the two seniors both plan on attending out-of-state schools, with Dahlberg looking to enroll at University of Iowa.

Dalhberg, also president of Association of Business Students and Peer Helpers, will major in business before attending law school.

Serritella will major in environmental studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with hopes of working for the United Nations Environmental Programme.


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