As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, it is an especially bittersweet time for Andover’s graduating class. Although missing out on many of the special events, sports, and time on campus this year, the Seniors will attend an in-person Senior Prom and Commencement in the upcoming weeks.
Even with a year cut short by the pandemic, Izzy Torio ’21 has realized the importance of connecting with other members of the Andover community after spending time in quarantine.
“I think Covid-19 has made me realize how important it is to connect with other people whether they’re really close friends or people you’ve never talked to before, and how spending time on the lawn or walking downtown or spending time in the library with your classmates and friends– that is what makes the Andover experience Andover. It’s not just the classes, it’s the people and the environment you’re in and just kind of those in person interactions you have on a day to day basis that are small and big,” said Torio.
Although many quintessential Senior traditions were not experienced normally for the Class of 2021, there were still positive takeaways, according to Kennedy Everson ’21. For Everson, the Covid-19 pandemic was a time to reflect and be grateful for the people in her life. Everson shared what she learned and where she found positivity and appreciation during this year.
“It is so hard to find yourself enjoying moments in the midst of a pandemic, but I have found myself so much happier. It also made me appreciate everything that I got to experience before [Covid-19] even more. I realized that it is such a privilege to be here and that every moment I have with my friends or teammates is something I should cherish,” said Everson.
Although some Seniors found positivity during the pandemic, Spring Term of the Class of 2021’s Upper year and parts of their senior year were not on campus. Ellerman Mateo ’21 shared his insight on how the pandemic impacted his life and his overall time as a student at Andover.
“It really didn’t feel like an Andover year. It felt like a very, very long summer break. I really feel sad because I feel like the pandemic just took Upper Year and then half of this Senior year. It really didn’t feel the same. It felt very foreign to be honest, so I’d say it made Andover feel too short,” said Mateo.
To some, Spring Term is also a time for the seniors to reflect on the highlights from their Andover experience, whether that be the friends they found at Andover, the clubs they joined, or sports teams they took part in. A highlight that stood out to Everson during her time at Andover was battling Exeter in Andover/Exeter while on the soccer, lacrosse, and hockey teams representing Big Blue.
“No matter what team I am on whether it be soccer, lacrosse, or hockey, the competitive spirit of campus and the next-level spark that each player has when they step on the field against Exeter is something that I am so grateful to have experienced,” said Everson
During this final stretch of their last year at Andover, some Seniors will take time to reflect on when they first arrived at Andover and what lessons they have learned during their Andover career. In his English 300 class, Mateo shared how he got a new perspective on Indigenous peoples.
“We were talking about Native Americans for at least the Fall term, and when I was taking that class I got the perspective of what it means to be a Native American author but also what does it mean to be part of a marginalized group, and there kind of allowed me to se I’m not alone and other Native Americans have experienced far worse than I’ve experienced,” said Mateo.
Through their years spent at Andover, the graduating class can serve as mentors for incoming Juniors and lowerclassmen. During Everson’s Junior year, her biggest regret was not being as involved on campus as she would have liked to. Through this personal experience she offered advice for lowerclassmen and new students.
“Get involved. Even if you think you can’t handle it, give it your best shot. It is the best way to meet people, try new things, and build a network. I wish I had done more [Junior] Year, but now I hope that anyone who reads this knows that they should too,” said Everson.