HELENA -- With students and teachers across Helena not returning to their classrooms this year, the decision will leave a hole in the lives of high school seniors whose graduation sits near.
For Shannon Beardslee, a senior at Helena High, it’s the major disconnect that comes with online learning.
“I like seeing different people every day interacting with actual teachers and stuff like that," said Beardslee. "There's just a serious disconnect between a computer at home and turning in schoolwork.”
High school seniors won’t get a chance to build memories in their final days of being students, Lexi Hernandez, a senior at Helena Capital, said one of the things she’ll look back on and miss is not being able to pull of this year’s senior prank.
“Senior skip day -- everyone's making a joke about how we're the longest running one and no one's ever gonna beat us," said Hernandez with a chuckle. "But at the same time, it's kind of like, 'Dang, I actually really wanted to actually do that and do those senior pranks.'”
For some, COVID-19 is even following them into their plans after high school.
Cory Didonato, a senior at Helena High has plans to go to the Universal Technical Institute in Arizona to become a certified diesel mechanic, but now he’s not sure what he’s going to do.
“I was supposed to go to college soon, but I might not be able to go until almost next year because they might have to shut down," said Didonato "They're such having such a bad time containing this COVID-19 that it's starting to affect, not just us, but everyone around us and the future plans that we all had to do after we graduate.”
Some didn’t even know that the last day they set foot on campus, would be last time that they’d walk the halls as a student ever again.
"We went to [the Class AA State basketball tournament] and we had no idea," said Teagan Eblen, a senior at Helena Capital. "The fact that we're never going to step foot back on there again is really depressing. It is really hard, and I don't know if I'll ever come to grips with that."