Shawnee High School graduate and 17-year-old Kaitlin Koons is one of several students in the graduating class of 2020 who did not have the ideal final year of high school.
"The second semester of my senior year was unlike anything any senior has ever experienced or probably ever will," Koons said. "The hardest part for me not attending school was not getting to see my teachers because I have formed such special relationships with them."
Koons said another difficult part of her senior year was not being able to celebrate and see friends and classmates.
"The hardest part has been missing out on the most iconic moments of your senior year that happen in the last nine weeks of school," Koons said. "It has also been hard coming to terms with the fact that some goodbyes with school friends and past teachers would never happen."
The graduate explained while she didn't get to attend her prom, she took pictures in her dress so she could cherish the memory.
For Koons, she said the most memorable things about her senior year are the relationships she's formed and the memories she's made.
"I will remember the relationships I formed and made stronger with friends and teachers and the incredible moments I got to be a part of like our first HOWL philanthropy week and homecoming," Koons said. "After being let out, I will remember volunteering on the meal bus and planning a small yard sign sale for seniors where we ended up selling almost 300 signs."
Overall, Koons said she appreciates her family, community and school for making her senior year as great as possible and getting her and her peers through the hard times.
"I will remember how our seniors, community, administration and parents stepped up to provide us with unique opportunities," Koons said. "Through yard signs, chalking in front of the PAAC, volunteering on meal busses, parades and rescheduled graduations, I am grateful this is the district that loved us enough to truly show up."
Koons said in the fall she will attend Oklahoma State University and major in Nutritional Sciences and pre-med.