May 26, 2023 - Education

Undeterred, the class of 2023 looks ahead

Graduating seniors Coral Lopez Jimenez, Meia Stevens and Nicholas Crone, from left. Photos: Courtesy of students

As area graduates toss their caps and look forward to the next chapter of their lives, they're hoping for more normalcy in the years ahead.

Why it matters: The class of 2023 is the first to have had every year of high school impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flashback: As freshmen, their "extended spring break" in March 2020 didn't exactly go as planned, and a majority of their sophomore year was on computer screens.

Yes, but: Many students are still making up for lost time, academically and socially.

What's happening: We talked to three local seniors about their experiences and future plans.

The bottom line: "If we graduated under all these conditions, we can pretty much tackle anything else," Westerville South senior Nicholas Crone tells Axios.

Coral Lopez Jimenez, Fort Hayes Arts & Academic

What's next: Studying forensic anthropology at Ohio State.

Big accomplishment: As a second-generation immigrant, she's the first in her family to attend college.

Favorite memory: Completing a local history project on Columbus' lost Black cemeteries.

Lesson learned: How to adapt and be flexible.

  • "Things change really fast, and not everything is guaranteed."

Meia Stevens, Eastmoor Academy

What's next: Attending Ohio State. Major is undecided, but interested in climate science and the medical field.

Big accomplishment: Earning enough credits to start college as a sophomore.

Favorite memory: Exploring OSU's campus for the first time and surprising students by telling them she was a high schooler.

Lesson learned: The importance of face-to-face interactions.

  • "I was thankful every day I got to go back and be with my teachers."

Nicholas Crone, Westerville South

What's next: Studying industrial engineering at Georgia Tech.

Big accomplishment: Making it into the Top 10 of the graduating class.

Favorite memories: A class trip to Cedar Point, and the hockey and lacrosse practices and competitions that got him through the depths of COVID-19.

Lesson learned: The importance of having the right mindset and hard work.

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