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Seniors get candid: checking in with the class of 2021

Williamsville North seniors share their honest thoughts about embarking on a school year filled with unknowns.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Homecoming, track meets orchestra concerts, even just passing your friends in the hallway every day on the way to class. Senior year of high school is supposed to be about getting to experience everything one last time. 

2 On Your Side recently caught up with a group of seniors at Williamsville North for a candid conversation about what their last year of high school will look like, from academics to sports, to friends and fun. 

"It's exciting to go back to school but it's so different," Hannah Mahoney said. 

"Obviously it's really challenging for us," her friend, Vikasini Nandakumar added. "It's our last year of school. We spent all these years in school, and to not have this year is kind of disappointing." 

"I was planning to really crank it up in terms of like school spirit and stuff," a fellow senior, Josh Rioux said. "Really kind of going out with a bang, and it doesn't look like it's going to be so much of a bang as a whimper." 

Mahoney, Nandakumar, and Rioux are all runners, and captains on the school's cross country teams. Like most things in their lives these days, their season is up in the air, too. Leading their teams in daily practices has been helping them stay in shape and take their mind off all the unknowns. 

"There's not a lot of us, but it's nice to see some faces and still have some interaction with other people," said Vikasini. "Our teams are really close." 

"Just kind of holding out hope that we might something sort of like a normal season, and then eventually something like a normal school year," Josh said.

The school year certainly didn't get off to a normal start. Students in fifth through 12th grades originally had the option of choosing a hybrid model or to learn remotely. That decision was changed Thursday evening, and the district will transition to fully remote learning next week. 

Hannah and Vikasini had opted for the hybrid model. That would have sent them into the building two days a week, with other students from their end of the alphabet. 

"It's very weird to think we could be finishing the year with seeing less than half of our class, and then never being in school with these kids again," Hannah shared.  

Josh had chosen to learn remotely. While he and his family felt safe with that option, he's also concerned about his academics. 

"They're kind of struggling to find teachers. So I'm just hoping I'll be able to learn everything I need to pass exams at the end of the year," he explained. 

As many questions as these students have going into their senior year, they're trying to keep their eyes on the finish line.