COVID-19 Outtake and Farewell–Ryan Downey

Letters from the Seniors of The Tower


I believe that I can speak for the majority of students when I say that each person that will graduate from high school will have at least one defining moment in their career. For some it’s being crowned Homecoming King/Queen, for others it’s winning a game as the obvious underdog. However, my class, the class of 2020, has something quite unique. Our defining moment is one that is universal. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many students in ways that we never imagined. I will never forget my last day at school because I didn’t know it would be my last. We were scheduled to have a three-day weekend, but none of us knew that it would turn into almost three months. I remember that my friends and I used to wonder if commencement or prom would be canceled; at the time we thought it was unimaginable. Something like that would have been too drastic. That was until we heard that Michigan shut down schools for the rest of the academic year. That is when reality hit us. We watched the events that we planned for years, slowly fade away. Although it sounds crazy, I was looking forward to taking my IB exams to finally put an exclamation on my senior year. It is comparable to running 25/26 miles in a marathon. All I wanted to do was cross that finish line. Personally, there have definitely been some negative effects, but I would like to focus more on the positive. At John Adams High School I was involved in innumerable activities. I played football, I wrestled, I was in the jazz band, orchestra, mock trial, and I was organizing the Unified Track team for the spring. I took most of those things for granted because I did not realize how easily they could be taken away. COVID-19 has made me more grateful for the opportunities that are presented to me. Most students have been stuck with their families for the duration of the statewide quarantine and although it has driven me a bit crazy, it has ultimately brought me closer to my family members. During school, my time at home was usually spent practicing instruments or doing homework, but since I have no more extracurricular activities I have really been able to spend time with my family. I feel like my relationship with them is stronger than it ever has been and I am not sure if that would have happened if this pandemic had not occurred. Moving forward, I am going to cherish the time that I have with friends and family. As cliche as that may sound, I never realized how quickly my reality can change. I said previously that COVID-19 is the defining moment of my high school career. When I stated that, I was not referring to the negative impacts that are commonly associated with it. The aspect of COVID-19 that I believe deserves more attention is the way that it has unified our communities and our schools, in my case specifically, John Adams High School. I want to take a moment to thank every single member of the JAHS faculty and staff for all that they have contributed to my education. This pandemic has shown me how much the staff truly cares about their students. I am very honored to be joining the ranks of the John Adams alumnus and I, along with the rest of my class will always be eagles. Since this is the last article that I am writing for The Tower, I must thank Mr. Nowicki. He is one of only two teachers that I have had all four years. Throughout this period of time, Mr. Nowicki has been a true advocate for my future and I knew that I could always rely on him. Through The Tower, he has taught me organization and leadership skills that I could not receive in my other classes. Because of him I now know how to plan large scale events through my experience with Tower Rock. Throughout my time at JAHS, I quickly found out that Mr. Nowicki is more than a teacher, he is a friend. I would like to thank The Tower for all of the opportunities that have been provided to me and I wish the best to all of the future graduating classes. Go Eagles!