Senior Send Off

Paisha Watkins, Staff Writer

“Different,” “Crazy,” “Lame,” “Unexpected.” All adjectives used by Issaquah High School seniors to describe their senior year. The classes of 2020 and 2021 were met with an unfortunate fate for their senior years. From missing sports to dances to in-person classes, students missed out on a lot of what makes up their high school experience. 

With such an unpredictable year, seniors led different lives and had new experiences than that they would not normally have. Meara Norris explains, “I don’t know how to put this year into words except for that it was just so different than how I imagined it was going to be.” Julie Miller expands on how senior year in the movies always looks like a dream where everyone is so happy and ready for the future; but she feels her senior year was not like that at all. “I thought my senior year was gonna be like High School Musical but I just feel kind of lost,” she says. With the loss of crowd packed football games, day-to-day classes in person, and school dances, seniors were not getting their picture perfect year. 

However, there is one thing that students got that made them feel more connected to the school in a time where most felt very disconnected from Issaquah: sports. Julia David-Smith said sports saved her year. “I am so grateful that I was able to have my sports seasons this year,” she explained. As a student athlete, being able to have her senior seasons was incredibly important to her. David-Smith was able to participate on the cross country team, varsity basketball team, and track and field. These seasons were even more important as she has committed to running cross country and track at the University of Washington this upcoming fall. Arpan Kundu also agreed in saying his favorite thing about senior year was his ability to play sports. He shared, “Nothing made me happier than being able to play one last football game with my team on the field and having all my friends there for senior night. For a minute, it was like everything was normal again.” 

College was quickly approaching for seniors this year and with a rushed out junior year, most students did not feel prepared for important projects like college applications and choosing a school. Students had the choice of doing full time Issaquah or part time while taking classes at Bellevue College, or full time BC. Kundu, who did full-time Bellevue College, explained how grateful he was that he started full time BC as a junior because he was able to get his associates degree early. He also shared how BC made him feel more prepared for college as he was able to take college level courses and knock out a lot of credits he would need to take in college, saving him time and money. Jack Miller, who did full time Issaquah, says he did not feel as prepared. “Most announcements were coming through email and with the overbearing college emails coming in every second, it was hard to keep up with the emails from the school telling us about important deadlines,” Miller explains. Malik Chouhan took a different approach to his senior year at Issaquah and actually dropped out of Issaquah and enrolled in an online school program where he says, “The program has been incredibly helpful in helping me to be able to pass.” 

Despite the challenges presented this year, the seniors did it and are one step closer to graduating this Friday, June 11. If you have been going to in-person classes at Issaquah you have probably seen the senior destinations poster hanging in the commons. However, I wanted to share where a few of my friends have chosen to go and why if you are an underclassmen, you should already start thinking about college. Sam Maurer will be attending Cal-Poly this fall to study electrical engineering. Sam explains, “When I visited Cal-Poly I knew it was the school for me. The campus is beautiful, I love the area, and their engineering program is amazing.” Kundu is headed to Washington State University and is also studying electrical engineering. He says that he is very excited to be going with some of his closest friends and is hoping to be able to transfer to the University of Washington next year. Aryan Kundu will be at Arizona State University this upcoming fall to study computer information systems. He loves the campus and the IT program at ASU. Chouhan will be enlisting in the marines and headed to bootcamp this month after graduation. Tess Treuting will be attending Western Washington University, along with Julie Miller and Jack Miller, studying political science as both Millers are majoring in communications. Norris will be at Montana State University and is so far undecided. 

As the class of 2021 are preparing for the next chapters of their lives, they have important messages they wanted to leave for the underclassmen at Issaquah. Maurer says, “Live in the moment. These four years seem like they will last a lifetime but in a split second you are gonna be graduating. Make the most of all the time you have.” Julie Miller adds, “I regret being so caught up in other people’s opinions, but lucky for me I was able to find myself in my junior year and meet people who became like family to me and stop caring about what other people think.” 

So if I leave you with one message, it is to appreciate every moment and realize that high school drama will not matter five years from now. Be kind and good karma will come back to you. Seniors, good luck at graduation and enjoy the bright futures ahead of you!