The Class of 2023: A Post-Pandemic Hope?


Aidan Vu

Andrea DeLeonGarcia (11) next to a display dedicated to the graduating Class of 2022.

As Westside’s Class of 2022 nears their graduation date, June 12th, it marks a truly significant moment as being the first class to do so in returning to in-person school since the Class of 2020. This reopening was not simple and the transition was rough for students, staff, and faculty moreover. The school year can be defined by topics of COVID-19 safety regulations, resource shortages, and re-adjustments. The Class of 2022 is closing their last year in high school with a boom, not the one celebrated with confetti but one that is creating feelings of disorientation and unease. And with this, can we really keep our hopes high for the Class of 2023? Realistically, our hopes for the future are appearing negative.

To be more specific, in reflecting on this school year’s return to in-person learning, COVID-19 remains a prevalent issue. HISD’s COVID-19 Dashboard displays confirmed cases across its schools, which has progressively gotten worse over this year and having more hot spot areas than before. HISD has established and maintained its policies regarding the pandemic, but has also gotten more loose on their terms and becoming more of a consequence rather than reversing to a pre-pandemic time. Most of their terms are “encouraged” and not enforced, including their regulations on hygiene, masks, and self-monitoring to name a few. COVID-19 is simply too unpredictable to foresee the futures of the next generations of graduating classes, especially considering its delta and omicron variants and its newest subvariants, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, that had made up 61.8% and 32.4% of all cases in Texas on the week of May 7th according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (

The pandemic had also left a lasting impact onto schools in other factors beyond procedures. It has also:

In addition to these factors, this school year is characterized by making adjustments and transitioning away from virtual schooling. Rising senior, Andrea DeLeonGarcia, defines this school year as being “a challenge, entertaining, and an adventure.” She comments on the next school year as well stating: “I am not confident about it being a ‘normal’ year, because my whole high school experience was not normal. My freshman year was cancelled and went online, my sophomore year went fully online, and then this year we are living with a virus around and many students have to miss school because they get sick, etc. So I’m at constant state where I’m at a constant state where I’m worried about my health. So I know my senior year will not be ‘normal.'”

This school year has been rather chaotic all the way to the end here at Westside. Although optimism should be kept for the next school year, the futures of all graduating classes are not going to simply return back to “normal” immediately as seen with the many issues we have yet to overcome. Even so, this transition can be much smoother in comparison. Our hopes depend on unpredictable circumstances that relies on mass changes and initiative to address from the district itself. So, to the Class of 2023, our aspirations for our ideal senior year depend on not only hope but also accountability, persistence, and will power.