Aside from graduation day, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused members of Trousdale County’s Class of 2020 to miss out on a number of milestones that would typically mark their final year in the school system.

Prom was canceled. Spring sports came to a screeching halt. Many of the fun activities that celebrate the end of another school year didn’t come to pass.

The Vidette spoke with two of Trousdale County’s graduating seniors about the effects the closure of school and the cancellation of activities had upon them.

“We were at the end of the senior year. Supposed to be some really good times ahead of us but that was all cut short,” said Ben Chumley. “I know my class really looked forward to class tournaments. Our class had won the volleyball tournament three years in a row and was going for four years straight.”

“It’s definitely been different; I feel like we’ve had to miss on the fun part of senior year,” added Hailey Givens, who is graduating fourth in her class. “We got through all the hard stuff — the classes and the tests — and now it was coming around to all the fun stuff.”

Both graduates said they were disappointed to miss their senior prom — one of the highlights of a student’s year.

“Prom, of course, is always fun for everyone. All your friends getting dressed up together is awesome,” Chumley said. “Some of my best memories came from prom. I had attended prom every year and was hoping to make this one the best but that was not able to happen.”

Some activities were able to take place before the school closure, such as senior pictures, and some were able to continue in a limited fashion, such as the yearbook. Honors and Scholars pictures were taken before school closure as well. Of the 83 members of the Class of 2020, 16 are Honors graduates and 39 are Scholar graduates.

To be a Scholar graduate, a student must complete or be on track to complete 14 of the core curriculum courses and three of the identified elective courses. To reach Honors level, students must meet the Scholars criteria and all ACT readiness benchmarks.

The annual Senior Day was unable to take place, in which seniors would have received various awards and scholarship announcements. To take the place of that, TCHS Principal Teresa Dickerson and Assistant Principal Ben Johnson created a Youtube video making those announcements that was released on May 22.

Chumley, who played baseball and football as a member of the Yellow Jackets, said missing out on his final year of baseball was perhaps the hardest thing. The TCHS baseball team had four senior starters and had been projected as among the favorites to claim the district championship.

“Losing baseball to me was really tough. I have put more time into baseball than most people can even think of; I have played travel baseball ever since I was 10 years old...

“Coming into this season we knew we were going to be tough… We brought in a guy from Cumberland University, Jared Schmidt, and he was able to help us with a lot of things. Coach (Hayden) Williams and Jared Schmidt were able to prepare us very well. We definitely had high expectations.”

Givens and Chumley said the pandemic had some effect on preparation for their future plans. Givens plans to attend Cumberland University while Chumley plans to attend lineman school.

“They’ve never done virtual registration for incoming freshmen,” Givens said of Cumberland. “They are saying that we will be on campus this fall.”

Chumley said he had hoped to play college baseball, but losing his senior season meant a missed opportunity to showcase his talents.

“If I would have decided to play baseball in college I would had to have walked on somewhere, because at the time I had no offers to play anywhere. This is true for seniors all over. A lot of kids needed this senior year to show colleges what they have. Unfortunately they were not able to do that.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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