Making the best of the moment: Carson High twins reflect on what they’re missing, what’s to come
Carson High School twins Kaden and Chloe Walt hoped their senior celebrations wouldn’t end up forfeit to COVID-19, but they wanted to make the last few months of it special anyway. In the past few weeks, they’ve been capturing the work their friends put into their academics and activities in photos and on social media.
It’s hard, though, not to think about what they’re missing out on in the weeks ahead.
“When I heard we were closed down, it was nice to know, to not have it up in the air,” Kaden said. “But I also became pretty sad. … It kind of pulled at my heartstrings. I understood why it was happening.”
Where they’d rather be
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday during a press conference that all Nevada schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year and will finish through distance learning. All sports, social activities and end-of-the-year plans, including the major senior capstone events such as proms and graduations, most likely would be canceled or held by virtual means under these conditions.
Acknowledging the challenges closing its campuses would bring for assessments and compliance, Carson City School District announced in March it would continue its education for students and provided a Remote Learning page and resources for elementary and secondary students. Arrangements were made accordingly, and staff members and families began to comply as of March 23, with students using Chromebooks and other academic resources to maintain communications with their teachers daily from their homes.
The routine overall has worked well for the Walts, though Kaden said admittedly for Advanced Placement students, like he and Chloe, it still has its challenges.
“You still take notes and still have the ability to ask questions and everybody usually does ask questions, although it is kind of hard,” he said. “We’re focusing on honing our skills on those (AP) tests.”
Kaden said he’s usually done with his work by noon most days and Fridays generally are free. He spends some of his days online with his friends. Prior to the transition, Kaden had finished playing soccer in the fall and was swimming to keep himself in shape, enjoying his spare time outside with friends.
“I’ll be a freshman in college in a couple of months,” he said. “When I’ve talked to my friends over Facetime or gaming, we’ve talked about how we’d be hanging out with friends or in Reno, and now we’re stuck at home playing video games. We’d rather be doing videos.”
‘When that reality hit’
Since she was a freshman, Chloe said she had looked forward to prom, dreaming about wearing the dress and dancing the evening away. But the night that would have taken place April 4 never happened.
“I was in charge of prom, and the fact is I looked forward was organizing and to say me and my class and the student council that we put on one of the best proms, that was my motivation for my position, but the fact that we worked so hard and got so close, that took a big toll,” she said. “I’m going to grow up and have kids and say I wasn’t able to enjoy it. That kind of sucks, but I made the best of the moment.”
While she might not have danced the night away, Chloe said she invited her friend Kiana Martinez to her house, they got ready for the prom and took photos together 6 feet apart. They used a pole demonstrating they were following social distancing guidelines and posted their pictures on social media as their way of celebrating their prom night. They also had a nice dinner with their families, Chloe said. Kaden also dressed up with them. Friends responded online, she said.
She said she hopes the administration will allow for in-person graduations.
“I would be so grateful if we end up doing that just because we’ve missed so many milestones like prom, our senior sunset … we’ve already voted for our senior superlative, and we’re still figuring out how to hand out those awards and picture books,” she said. “I think overall, we should still fight for an in-person graduation because for me, an in-person graduation is still important for many.”
Chloe said she also wanted to make sure she and her senior classmates would also still feel like they weren’t missing out on anything even if they weren’t physically at the school. She and her cohorts have created an Instagram page, @chseniors.2020, where she and her friends are posting Carson High’s Class of 2020’s senior photos, where the graduates plan to go to college in the fall and their intended major.
“We have 447 seniors, it’s going to be hard to get everyone, and we’re up to 50 posts (as of Wednesday),” she said. “It’s super cool and a lot of teachers have seen us trying to acknowledge our seniors.”
The rest of the year
Molly Walt, who said her family overall is doing well, has been supportive of the district’s efforts to make sure students stay on track through distance learning efforts.
As for her twins, who are missing out now on key moments and not sure of what the next few weeks might bring, Molly feels helpless, becoming emotional when she remembers Chloe didn’t enjoy her prom night. She hurts that her senior children have missed so much time with their friends.
“(Chloe) said to me, ‘Mom, you don’t understand,’ and I said, ‘You’re right, I don’t understand,’ ” Molly said. “I had a great senior year. They’re missing their friends. My daughter went and bought her prom dress. We had bought that about two days prior to this self-quarantine, and then there’s senior sunset and graduation. I think an in-person graduation is doable.”
The district is still planning its next steps on graduation, waiting daily on what the state will announce as Sisolak provided an update on his reopening plan Tuesday.
“I say let’s not exhaust the idea of having an in-person graduation,” Molly said. “Carson is not like other Nevada cities. It’s not like Washoe County. If we can do our due diligence by practicing the social distancing, who’s to say in a month or a month and a half, we can’t just limit the number of people attending?
“Parents are talking in Facebook groups,” she said. “They’re suggesting on giving seniors two tickets each and those tickets have to be Carson City residents and then you can stream (the ceremony) online so other family members can watch it.
But Molly said ultimately the social distancing for now is perhaps “for the best.”
“You knew it was going to happen,” she said. “It’s for the safety of all others, and it’s definitely a priority. There is no chance of going back. … It would be reckless to send the kids back.”
For now, Kaden and Chloe said they look forward to what lies ahead. Kaden plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall where he’ll major in biology, and Chloe looks forward to going to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to major in hospitality management.
Chloe said though she regrets not having a normal end to her senior year, she understood it was for the best.
“My senior group and student council, we had it in mind to brainstorm ideas of what we could do to somehow keep the senior year experience going, but when that reality hit that we’re actually not going back to school, it was bad, but I understand what (Gov. Sisolak’s) doing is to keep Carson City safe and Nevada safe, which is very understandable, and I think it was a good idea,” she said.