Senior Presentations Postponed

This+is+a+screenshot+of+a+cover+slide+of+a+google+slides+presentation.+Many+senior+activities%2C+including+the+presentations%2C+are+postponed+because+of+the+shut+down+of+schools+due+to+the+coronavirus.+

Caitlynn Kelley

This is a screenshot of a cover slide of a google slides presentation. Many senior activities, including the presentations, are postponed because of the shut down of schools due to the coronavirus.

Caitlynn Kelley, Journalist

Every single year, each senior class has to complete the daunting task of doing senior presentations. Senior presentations are required for graduation and also help with scholarships, which can really help those families in need. They also help students practice and better their public speaking skills. Usually, senior presentations deal with controversial issues and heavy topics, such as universal healthcare, immigration, and so on. Recently, they have been postponed indefinitely. 

Due to the recent message from the Victor Valley Union High School District, all of the schools will be shut down further until May 4th, 2020 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The coronavirus is a virus that originates from Wuhan, China. It is extremely contagious and usually has flu-like symptoms. However, these symptoms can worsen for the elderly, diabetics, etc. Seniors at University Preparatory and across the United States are infuriated that their events are getting postponed. However, some also keep in mind that the closure can decrease the spread of the coronavirus, which will lead to keeping those who are most at risk safe during these times of uncertainty.

Senior Marissa McGillick states the topic of her presentation, “My presentation is about universal healthcare and how healthcare is a right not a privilege (which I know is controversial, but almost all senior presentations are controversial).” 

Regarding the process of choosing the topic, she states, “I know the experience of choosing the topic and creating the presentation depends on who your teacher is; same goes with who is on your board. If they’re [the people on the board, teachers] strangers you are more anxious, but if they are people you know, like, or trust, then you’ll be more open and more confident…”

McGillick talks about her presentation anxiety and how she copes with it. “I’ve always been anxious when it comes to presenting, whether it be one-on-one with a teacher or a student or in front of a whole class. The only thing that has made me better this year is having to remind myself that I most likely will never see these people again. They’re going to move on, so if I make a mistake it won’t matter as much.”

Her advice to future seniors about the presentations is, “…  to not choose a topic early because they [the topic] can change and you’ll have a completely different thought process or idea when the time comes around. Also, it isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I mean, of course I have anxiety about it, but that’s just the presenting part. I’m excited because I get to have my voice heard and share something I’m passionate about, so if you want a better chance of winning the scholarship instead of just getting the grade, do something that you are passionate about.” 

McGillick speaks her mind about the closure and the postponement of her class’ events, “I think the closure is over dramatic and unnecessary. Our senior year is basically gone and wasted. I hate it here.”

I think the closure is over dramatic and unnecessary. Our senior year is basically gone and wasted. I hate it here.”

— Marissa McGillick

Senior Erika Davis states how picking the topic was easy for her to do, “I had entered a speaking contest on homelessness and had to prepare and do research on it anyways, so I decided to do an essay on homelessness for an English paper at school. Then in Senior Trans the prompt was: What is a world, national, or [community problem]? (or something of that nature). So, I decided, ‘Why not do homelessness and kill three birds with one stone?’”

She states that she makes sure to prepare before presenting and that she takes presenting very seriously. 

Regarding presentation anxiety, Davis states, “I don’t really get nervous in front of people I know, but if I am nervous, I treat it like I do before a game. I just breathe and think.”

To the up-coming seniors, she states, “I give the advice of focusing and not taking a lot of AP classes, so that they can be ready for what’s ahead of them.”

Davis expresses her annoyance about the postponement of senior activities; however she isn’t worried about senior presentations. “I’m annoyed about Senior Night and Prom. I don’t think that [closing of the schools until May 4th, 2020] was necessary because everyone who goes to our school wasn’t leaving the state and they’d be fine…”

Senior Aaliyah Boykins details the process of picking a topic for senior presentations. “The process of picking a topic goes like this: you choose a topic and see which one fits into the category you see fit, type up a proposal, and then get it approved.” She states the topic of her presentation and how it is relevant to her life, “My presentation is going to be about Neuropathology and the importance around watching your body because I did have a tumor of my own last year that resulted in surgery.

My presentation is going to be about Neuropathology and the importance around watching your body because I did have a tumor of my own last year that resulted in surgery.”

— Aaliyah Boykins

Boykins believes that presentations in her past have helped her prepare for the senior presentations this year. 

She states her experiences with past presentations, “Many of my teachers have required me to present in front of panels, such as my Calculus presentation that I did last year in front of Mrs. Hatcher, Mrs. Caballero, and Mrs. Cindy.”

About presentation anxiety and how to cope with it, Boykins states, “I do feel anxious when I present, but I try my best to rise to the occasion and give it my all. When I feel anxious, I try to remind myself that the situation is nowhere near as bad as I am making it to be, so it is okay to relax.”

Unlike McGillick, she advises the upcoming seniors to start thinking about their topics now. “It is very important to know what you want to talk about as well as how you’re going to formulate a presentation on that topic, because the panel will field questions based on it.”

Regarding the closing of schools until May 4th and postponement of senior events, Boykins states, “I don’t think we’re going to be doing senior presentations honestly. Teachers haven’t really said anything other than to get them turned in. It sucks, but it’s essential so that people can remain safe as possible during this time. So, I do think that it [closing down the schools] was necessary.”

The Class of 2020 is questioning whether they will actually be able to go to graduation and prom. Many are upset because they want to be able to reap the benefits of the hard work that they have done to get to where they are now. However, slowing the spread of the coronavirus also needs to be considered. California Governor Gavin Newsom just yesterday (March 19, 2020) sent out a statewide declaration that people need to stay in their homes. The only exceptions to leaving your homes are: going to the store, going to work, and so on. There have been 9 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in San Bernardino County as of March 20, 2020. Senior presentations have been required for all other graduating classes at University Preparatory, but due to these unlikely circumstances, the presentations’ future is still uncertain.