Waterford’s Class of 2020 Shines On Through Uncertain Times

Elijah Morosky

The Class of 2020 is the first, and hopefully the only, class to finish senior year and graduate virtually. The transition period from high school to college and beyond is always one of uncertainty, and this year it is more uncertain than ever. Throughout these unprecedented times, this year’s senior class has met adversity face-on, doing what they can in a situation largely out of their control. While many staples of the senior year — senior skip day, senior picnic, the senior prank, senior prom, and graduation — are inevitably changed, students are working with faculty to make what can still happen, happen. As we emerge into the world as adults, we are starting to understand that we can affect change. We are beginning to realize the power of our own voices, that if we talk to people and get right to work, we can get things done. 


Many of the students in the class already know the value of good hard work. Aaron Piotrowski, for instance, has been working at Seconn Fabrication during his time in quarantine. He plans to continue to do so until Electric Boat is hiring welders. Despite the fact that he had his “last day of school ever and didn’t even know it,” he is able to look on the bright side of quarantine: “I’ve learned a lot of skills that are applicable to my career in my time working at Seconn while school is out,” he proclaims. 

Hard work shows itself in many ways. Jenna Milukas has the distinguished title of being a member of the National Honors Ensemble Choir. She was one of only 16 singers from the state of Connecticut to be sent down to Florida last November for a concert. Milukas’s path to being in the National choir was no easy feat: first, she had to win an Eastern Regional contest, then a state-wide contest of regional winners, and finally, a national competition among state winners.


Others of us have managed to use the amount of free time during quarantine to stay productive. Anna Shleck has been teaching herself German every morning using Duolingo, an app that helps users to learn new languages. She has also started her job working as a lifeguard, a job that will hold a certain poignancy for a senior unable to go to the beach with her friends as usual in the summer.

Similarly, Connor Elci has been using his time off of work at Harkness Park wisely. He has been scheduling each of his days out to stay on track, and has been making sure to stretch and read every day to keep his mind and his body sharp. He has been reading a book about positive mindsets and has been journaling as well. 


One thing that stands out perhaps more than all the others is the class of 2020’s desire to make a difference. There is, in each and every one of us, a genuine aspiration to improve the world. The way this desire manifests, however, is unique. There are community projects like Dylan Kinsella’s Eagle Scout project, which saw him building a pavilion to cover the washing and packaging stations at Coogan Farm, associated with the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. There are religious vows like Sebastian Zegarra’s commitment to a two-year Mormon mission call after attending one year of college. Zegarra explains that all of his siblings have done it, and that he can’t wait to serve his mission: “I can’t wait to teach the word of Christ,” he says. And, there are those of us willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. Senior Hayden Ahearn is enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. “I come from a military family and I wanted to carry on the tradition of serving our country in times of peace and war,” he states humbly. Seniors Ryan Hannan and Justin Silva additionally plan on joining the Army, while Madison Nott will join the Connecticut National Guard. 

Finally, Jordan Bono sums up the responsibility and activism that characterizes our cohort:

 “There are so many problems going on right now and we are the generation that needs to stand up and make a difference,” she says. “Our class can be made truly special if we use what has happened to us in a positive way, by taking our frustrations surrounding the end of our senior year and putting them towards the things that matter that much more.”


Ultimately, the class of 2020 is a class that is beginning to understand its place in the world during a time of a worldwide pandemic, a presidential election, and protests, and I truly believe that we will be only the stronger for it.