Sparks High School student Susy Meza talks about missing the rest of her senior year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Reno Gazette Journal
Send us your senior pictures: This is the fourth in a series of stories following Sparks High School senior Susy Meza, 17, who will graduate in June. She is the student body president, played sports and was on the prom committee.
We know there are thousands of students like Susy who are missing out on the end of high school. We want to help honor them before they graduate this spring. We’re asking members of the Washoe County School District Class of 2020 to take a candid shot. It can be in the prom dress you planned to wear or a cap and gown. It can be a photo in your backyard. Students can send pictures, but so can friends, grandparents, parents and siblings. Include the student’s name, age, high school and plans following graduation. We’ll do our part by sharing them in a photo gallery for everyone to share.
To submit your photo, click here to fill out our form.
Susy Meza knew she wouldn’t go back for her senior year of high school.
She knew as other states canceled school amid the coronavirus pandemic. She knew it made sense as the virus that has killed more than 50,000 in the United States and forced the closure of all schools in the state.
But the tears still came when Susy, who attends Sparks High School, heard Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced schools would not return to end the spring semester.
“It was a moment of sadness,” she said. “I’m sad because there are so many things we missed.”
Susy, who plans to study neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall, was looking forward to all the things that lead up to graduation.
She missed her senior prom. She missed the end of her high school sports career and beating her own personal best time in the 300-meter hurdles.
She misses her classes and teachers who have been mentors and friends.
And last weekend she missed a district leadership conference she had looked forward to since her senior year started.
As student body president of Sparks High, Susy had wanted to show off her school spirit and at a conference where she and others would discuss how to improve high school.
“I’m trying to check up on everyone and they are checking up on me,” she said of friends.
“I know it’s something we had to do for everyone’s safety but it’s still hard,” she said.
“I’m trying toot ose hope even after so much has been taken away.”
She even misses her locker.
The day she left it was decorated with streamers in school colors.
Inside it is filled with pictures of her friends and her family and a box of strawberry and cinnamon Pop-Tarts.
The Pop-Tarts would be a welcome treat when she came back from spring break, she thought
“I can’t stop thinking about those Pop-Tarts and how good they tasted when I would eat one as I was racing to class.”
It’s easier to think about the Pop-Tarts than a canceled graduation ceremony.
The district has still not announced plans for how it will try to graduate thousands of students while social distancing remains a mandate.
The Reno Gazette JOurnal is hoping to honor seniors by collecting candid photos of as many as we can, and include details in an online gallery. To submit a photo, click here.
For thousands like Susy, high school was the culmination of hard work.
Susy is hopefully that she will be able to walk in some sort ceremony eventually.
“We just have to do something, even if it’s on the football field in the heat of August,” she said. “And when we do, I’m going to make sure it’s memorable.”
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
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