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High school senior shares what it's like missing out on traditions amid coronavirus pandemic

With schools across the bay area still closed due to COVID-19, Plant City High School's salutatorian is keeping positive.

PLANT CITY, Fla. — When you think of senior year of high school, you think of cheering at pep-rallies with friends, dancing with your crush at prom and walking across the stage at graduation. 

For the graduating class of 2020, they are facing the reality of missing all those end-of-the-year traditions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was kind of crushing. Like, I'm not gonna lie to you. It was really upsetting," said Plant City High School senior Kyle Hamilton.

Hamilton, who is senior class president, had the responsibilities of planning events throughout the school year. So, when he was notified that schools were closing, he knew he had to break the news to his classmates-- all of the events they were looking forward to were canceled.

"It was really upsetting because I had to be the one to break the news to all my friends that like, hey, our prom and grad bash and all these other fun things have been canceled," Hamilton said. 

Right now, graduation ceremonies in Hillsborough County are still scheduled to happen in May. Hamilton is salutatorian of his graduating class and is worried he won't be able to give his speech.

"So I was going to speak. They have a graduation planned, but I'm not sure what they're going to do," Hamilton said. "I've heard other schools are doing like a virtual graduation type thing. So I don't know if I'll even be able to speak anymore, which kind of stinks."

Hamilton says that students enjoy going to school because it provides an outlet where they can thrive in both their learning and social interactions. 

"It's where kids get their food, it's where they get their main social interactions where they get their access to technology. So it's, it's been tough, it's been really hard adjusting."

Hamilton was accepted to the University of Florida for their summer term. With the spread of coronavirus, students were moved to remote learning but is projected to be able to move on campus in the fall.

With all the challenges he's faced this school year, he's still keeping a positive attitude.

"I just think it's important to keep in mind that like, everyone's going through this, you're not alone," Hamilton said. "Like it sucks. It's really, really terrible but it's important now more than ever to just to treat everyone with kindness and just kind of like take it day by day."

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