Three 2020 graduates look back at their time at A.L.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years,” a quote from President Abraham Lincoln.

This school year has definitely been an interesting one; nothing like any of us have ever seen before. Many are trying to make the most they can of this time for growth and at-home activities. This is all occurring for a reason some are tired of hearing about. The dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.

A large portion of the Abraham Lincoln High School student body is experiencing some form of effect from the stay-home orders and quarantine measures being put in place to slow the spread of the virus. 

Our senior class of 2020 is feeling these effects close to home. With the cancellation of prom as well as discontinuing the  remaining  days of the 2019-2020 school year and the likely cancellation of  spring sports and other events, some feel they missed out on key highschool memories within their senior year. 

The confirmation of this information was given in a press conference by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday April 17, 2020. She stated that all Iowa schools would not be continuing sessions for the remainder of this school year. 

One group this is specifically affecting, is our spring sports athletes. This includes both boys and girls soccer, track, tennis, and girls golf, as well as other organizations in our schools.

Senior Ethan Ortega, is just one athlete facing this situation. 

“It was my happy place and I’ve never had anything like it,” Ortega said. “I made friends, and it was a lot of fun, and you get to meet people that are absolutely amazing. It taught me a lot and it was one of the best schools I could’ve asked for to be my school. I love it.”

For Ortega, he was involved in football, basketball, track, golf, baseball, and Guitar Club throughout highschool and had his own share of accomplishments besides missing out on his senior spring season. This he said, was his most memorable. 

“Junior year of golf when I put in my first birdie,” Ortega said. “I had never really had a bunch of luck in sports in highschool like I wasn’t really top notch but that switched gears for me in the sport.” 

His overall biggest highschool accomplishment though, he feels is something much bigger. 

“Turning out to be the person who I am now because it helped me grow and see different things and it made me a better person,” Ortega said. 

Another organization here at AL that is facing extensive cancellations, is our music department, which includes band, choir and orchestra. 

Senior Madison Tichota, who is an Early College Academy student involved in show choir, concert choir, and jazz choir, recently had her competition season cut short as well as the absence of the choir department’s senior honor night. 

Tichota states that the show choir events were her best memories of highschool, but her biggest accomplishment was academic. 

“Getting into and succeeding in ECA,” Tichota said.

Overall, Tichota feels proud to be in the class of 2020, and speaks highly of her classmates.

“They are awesome people who are going to go far places,” Tichota said. 

Other seniors, such as Thomas Muhlbauer, are living their own experience of a senior year cut short.

Muhlbauer was involved in DECA throughout highschool, and found a lot of joy in meeting new people. 

“Meeting all the new people I talk to today,” Muhlbauer said. “Whether they’re from Germany or my DECA class, my biggest achievement was meeting all the great people.”

His best highschool memory, he says, is the DECA State qualifiers, and like Tichota, Muhlbauer thinks highly of his graduating class.

“They are an amazing group,” Muhlbauer said. “I got to meet a lot of them and when people say where is the next Steve Jobs or developer for the cure of cancer? Those people are in this group.”

These three seniors, like many others, are working to find ways to spend this time that they would have been in school.

For Tichota, Iowa western classes continue online, so her work load is yet to decrease, and she says she spends a lot of time on her school work.

Both Muhlbauer and Ortega stated that this time for them has opened up an opportunity to work at their jobs, and keep up on hobbies.

While the Class of 2020 may not have been able to participate in some school days and noteable events, and find themselves spending most of their senior year at home,  they left their own mark on the Abraham Lincoln Student Body.