This time of year signals when Houston-area high school seniors would start counting down the days until they get to cross the stage, dress up for prom and celebrate one of the biggest milestones of their lives.
But for students across the region, the novel coronavirus pandemic has robbed them of these end-of-year traditions. Some schools have canceled classes indefinitely and others are still unsure if graduation ceremonies will even be possible.
ON HOUSTONCHRONICLE.COM: HISD, other school districts to remain closed through at least April 10
At the start of the school year, senior students at Splendora High School in Montgomery County decorated their parking spots as part of a school tradition. After the pandemic made its way into the region and halted daily life for millions of people, Houston Chronicle photographer Jason Fochtman spoke with some of the seniors to see what life has been like during the pandemic.
For senior Shelby Denton, the pandemic drastically affected what would have been an amazing senior year.
"It caused the cancellation of the Montgomery County fair, which left senior exhibitors like me heartbroken," Denton said. "The Montgomery County fair is what sparked and started my love of showing livestock and the agricultural industry. I had 10 years to prepare for the ending of my career as a FFA member, but I can honestly say I wasn't prepared for it to end this way."
Senior Shaelyn Sanders said instead of counting down until her graduation, she is just hoping to have one.
"It has all happened so fast; this virus may be taking away a few of the memories I've been looking forward to since I was a little girl," Sanders said. "I may not get my last year of high school softball, prom, or a graduation."
Other students such as senior Luke McClennan had a more positive outlook.
"It saddens me to know that we might not get to do some fun things we have looked forward to all these years, but I know there are people in much worse situations right now," McClennan said. "I hope to still have a graduation maybe even prom. But all in all, we'll be ok. It will be a class to remember!"
Click through the photos above for a look at what students are saying about the coronavirus and its impact on their last few days of high school...