When recent Lake Stevens High School graduate Madelynn Coe began her senior year, students across the county were struggling with remote learning. As president of the school’s National Honor Society, Coe decided to help.
“I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be 10 years old, sitting in my house by myself and having to remember what time to log onto class,” Coe said.
Coe helped start an online, student-run tutoring program for students in the Lake Stevens School District. Last time Coe checked, 250 students (mostly in elementary school) were receiving help. It’s a program the grad hopes will continue, even after the pandemic ends.
Milestones for 2021 high school graduates looked different this year. Fall homecoming dances were cancelled, football season took place in the spring and yearbooks included more selfies than ever before.
Seniors completed their high school education under the looming threat of a virus that no one fully understood. They adapted to a year full of obstacles unlike any experienced in our lifetimes. Many never set foot into an actual classroom.
The Daily Herald caught up with four seniors to ask about their journey to graduation and reflect on their senior year.
Henry M. Jackson High School graduate Arnav Sood was the student body president on a largely empty campus. Darrington High School graduate Amanda Brown will leave behind her beloved chickens this fall to become a first-generation college student. Crossroads High School graduate Jude Jackson was not only the school’s valedictorian, but the first person in his family to graduate from high school. These stories are among the thousands in the class of 2021.
When the pandemic began affecting every-day life, Coe was in her junior year. She was cast to play Juliet in the high school’s production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and taking multiple AP classes.
“Honestly, I look back at my junior year sometimes and I would say the break we got from COVID is a blessing,” said Coe, emphasizing the blessing was the break — not COVID itself. “I was pretty burnt out at that time.”
Coe didn’t take a break for long, though. After the school’s’ Honor Society received district approval, it launched the tutoring program in November. Tutors were in such high demand that Coe reached out to the Junior National Honor Society to recruit from the middle school to help younger students.
“We made sure that they had a group of people to reach out to to help them through school work,” Coe said. “I’m kind of sad to be leaving that behind and I really hope that that program gets continued online or in-person, however we end up in the next year.”
The Lake Stevens grad wants to attend medical school after college and become an oncologist. During Coe’s sophomore year, her father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
It was a huge shock for the family, she said. The way her father’s oncologist spoke with the family and helped them through the process made her want to pursue the profession.
“It meant a lot to me that he was able to do that for my family and help them through this really stressful time,” Coe said. “I want to be able to do that for so many other people and families out there, because it is a really difficult process to go through.”
Coe plans to attend Northeastern University in Boston and major in cellular biology. In September, Coe will spend a semester at the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece through Northeastern’s study abroad program.
Katie Hayes: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @misskatiehayes.
Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.