Sierra Lutheran senior stays the course for graduation

Sierra Lutheran High School senior Rosalie Antonucci gets out of the house and runs about two hours a day. She had looked forward to starting up her fourth and final track season with a first meet scheduled for March 20, but an emergency announcement just five days prior changed all of that.

“That was a hard day,” Rosalie said about March 15 when she heard Gov. Steve Sisolak’s decision to close down schools due to COVID-19.

The Antonucci family, who attend Bridge Church in Carson City, received an e-mail from Principal Tami Seddon merely hours after getting out from their worship service stating that along with the Carson City School District, Sierra Lutheran also would move to digital learning. Sports would be canceled, which was one of the toughest aspects for Rosalie.

“My last meet was the 2019 state championships of last year,” she said. “I would have been going to state this year, and it just didn’t happen. I didn’t have a single meet this year. I’ve been training by myself, prepping. I started in November before and after school.”

She especially enjoyed the 4x100, the 4x200 and the 200-meter dash and had won the team won the state championship for track. She successfully wrapped up her fourth volleyball season, for which she played varsity for two years and junior varsity for the first two years before.

“It is what it is,” her mother, Sylvia, said. “They’re educated with the technology. It is so smooth. It’s just hard to see the disappointment. They can’t wait to see other kids, they can’t finish their year with all of those milestones. That’s the hardest point with my husband as a dad. That’s been the biggest challenge.”

She praised Sierra Lutheran’s staff for how expeditious they were for as soon as they received word they would be closing as of March 15.

Rosalie is planning to attend Western Nevada College in Carson City in the fall and is undecided about her major for now. She won’t be able to join a track team unless she attends a different college in her junior year, but she said she’ll see how things turn out for the time being.

Sylvia said Sierra Lutheran’s families were instructed to come to the school in March to collect their items from their lockers. By Thursday, students were at home and set up online learning.

“The transition was smooth and seamless, although still being completed,” Sylvia said.

The younger members of the family, Francesca, a freshman at Sierra Lutheran, and Angelo, attending Bethlehem Lutheran School, also are doing well, Sylvia said, with Angelo already in “summer mode.”

Francesca said when she’d heard school would be closed, it would be difficult.

“I was really sad that I wasn’t going to be able to see my friends … or my favorite teachers,” she said. “But it wasn’t that hard because I already did online school once for a semester. And then I went to a private school, but it’s better than the one semester I did online. It’s just weird, like I can’t sit down in a class, I can’t see anyone, I can’t physically interact with people and if your Internet’s bad, you sound like a robot. It’s just weird adjustments.”

She does enjoy certain perks and freedoms about studying from home. Her health teachers assign their students to take walks to keep them in shape, and Francesca said she has fun making her daily strides but noted not all students are afforded the chance to leave the house.

“Some of them are actually quarantined because their parents don’t want them to go outside, which is understandable,” she said.

She keeps in touch through social media or texting, and in her free time, she said she enjoys baking cakes and learning Photoshop on her computer.

“It’s been a real learning experience,” she said.

The social aspect for all three children has been trying, not being able to see friends as regularly, but as a family of faith, Sylvia said, they acknowledge for their family, “He’s got all of us and has a perfect plan.”

Looking ahead to graduation for Rosalie, Sylvia said her family looks forward to the school’s virtual ceremonies for its awards night and commencement.

“Everyone had voted to have a live graduation at a later time,” she said. “As a family and making a big to-do with just our family here, once we have a live graduation, we’ll have a full graduation and we’ll have double the fun making the night special with little things. It was just heartwrenching with prom not happening. They were going to have their prom on April 4, but they’ll have their prom on June 4 and maybe that’ll give them some hope, too.”

Sylvia said Rosalie has her prom dress and hopes she would still be able to enjoy a live event soon.

“We’re just kind of waiting to see,” she said. “We’re still a very busy family. We still own a business. I also work at our church.”

She added the current situation with COVID-19 eventually will subside and said their ministry will sustain them for the time being, adding for Rosalie in particular, who is preparing for college now, “God’s put the call the worship on her life … She’s got the world at her fingertips.”

“These circumstances are not going to move us,” she said. “This is just a piece of (my kids’) story. … We can’t let it annihilate us.”


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