OHS senior says Class of 2020 weathered 9/11, COVID-19, uncertain future — ‘won’t live in fear’

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 7/1/20

“When we were born, some before 9/11 and some a couple of months after, our parents were worried about bringing new lives into the world, everything was changing — the economy, jobs …

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OHS senior says Class of 2020 weathered 9/11, COVID-19, uncertain future — ‘won’t live in fear’

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“When we were born, some before 9/11 and some a couple of months after, our parents were worried about bringing new lives into the world, everything was changing — the economy, jobs — and we are starting adulthood in the same way,” said 2020 Owensville High School senior Emily Copeland while sharing her graduation experience.

Copeland said she has spent the last couple of months learning online, which has changed her entire senior year.

“Whenever we were told that we were being sent home from school in March, we really thought it was going to be a two to three-week thing. We all made jokes that it was the last day of school, but didn’t think it was going to be,” she said. “Every time they pushed back the date to come back, it hit us hard and then they said we weren’t coming back to school at all.”

Teachers tried to connect with them on a more personal level, giving out personal numbers and trying to make sure students understood everything and that they were ok.

“Online school is something I never want to do again. It was hard and even though we were all at home all day to do it, it is not like being in school with your classmates and teachers. I want to thank them for how hard they tried to teach us online.”

While Copeland said she was still able see her closest friends while out of school, it was really fun to see everyone at graduation.

“It made me realize how much I love some of my classmates,” she said. “It’s the most randomest people that made me realize how much I love them and how much they got me through the school day and I didn’t notice it that much.”

During graduation she said it was hard. Sitting there, realizing that they almost didn’t get to graduate.

“It made us feel better that we did graduation and parents threw us prom,” she said. “But nothing makes up for the second semester of high school, every day, eight hours a day with classmates. We were all really sad and like, man, we just graduated and it feels like we shouldn’t be graduating. We really didn’t get that senioritis feeling as much because we weren’t in school.”

She said the community has been a blessing and the school district too.

“It made me realize that we should never take anything for granted and should always be very grateful for what other people do for us and what we already have in life,” she said.

Still she wished Owensville High School Principal Kris Altemeyer could have been in attendance, but he was still in quarantine for COVID-19.

“It was his first year as our principal and he was my math teacher my freshman year, then assistant principal my junior year and principal my senior year,” Copeland said. “I just think it is kind of ironic that no matter what, you stay home for months, go back out again and you’re the principal of the school and you’re the one that gets corona. They are in my thoughts and prayers a lot.”

She will hold onto the memories of high school, like being named Barnwarming Queen, but she isn’t going to stop living.

Copeland said they are starting adulthood the same way they started life.

Everything is changing.

College, jobs, internships, and stuff that used to be normal is out.

Many jobs are being shut down, people are losing money and worried about finding another job.

“We were brought into this world, afraid of things that are going to change — and feel the exact same way as adults,” Copeland said. “It’s serious, but we can’t base our lives around it and live in fear. I’m not going to.”

Copeland and her 134 classmates were the 98th group to graduate from Owensville High School.

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