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Big events, college plans up in the air for some Oceanside High School students

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Kendra Parmelee, a senior at Oceanside High School, has been running on Oceanside’s track teams since seventh grade.

Now, due to coronavirus-related school closures and social distancing, she only runs by herself through her neighborhood, missing out on what would have been her final spring season on the varsity sports team.

“I won’t be continuing on in college,” she said, “so I was looking forward to making my last year worth it. I’ve been working really hard.”

She’s disappointed she may not get to attend “Senior Night,” an evening which usually celebrates the outgoing seniors on the team after their last home game, as well as the senior trip.

“It’s upsetting,” she said, “but I keep trying to tell myself that it’s not just Oceanside, it’s everywhere. Every student across the U.S., if not all across the world, is missing out on things. So it does make me feel a lot better knowing I’m not the only one.”

And, like Kendra, many other high school seniors are lamenting on potential cancelation of prom and graduation. Although New York State says it will reopen schools April 29, that date has been pushed back twice already as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“No decisions have been made in Oceanside on major events for seniors,” said Paul Guzzone, the high school’s assistant principal. “It’s our hope that this thing clears up and we’re able to get kids back in school and host those special events.”

Another sore spot during this time — college applications and decisions. Luckily, Kendra had already visited and committed to Florida Atlantic University, she said. Others may be having a tougher time, Guzzone noted.

“This is a very fluid situation,” he said, “and universities are making decisions day by day. A lot of them have pushed back decision or deposit deadlines, but not all.”

The school typically encourages seniors to visit colleges in person before making a decision, but since that is not possible right now, they are telling seniors to take virtual tours on the campus’s websites. Aside from making that final decision, seniors are mostly set with regards to college admissions — “it’s less of an impact on seniors than it is on juniors,” Guzzone said. “For juniors, I think there is a lot of anxiety, and a lot of it is around college admissions testing.”

Many of the SAT and ACT exams that colleges usually require test scores from have been canceled. While some colleges have chosen to make tests optional this year, others have not.

Oceanside High School’s counseling department established a Google Classroom for each grade level. Through the junior’s virtual classroom, guidance counselors video chat with students and parents to guide them through the application process.

The guidance office also created a new website to push out the latest information about college admissions and shares resources through its Twitter account, @OHSNYCounselors, Guzzone said.

“We can’t wait to get back to school,” he added. “We miss all our student and want to be there with them.”