High school seniors trying to make the best of their final year amid a pandemic


NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ethan and Jarod Rackliffe are brothers, and they’re both seniors this year at Niskayuna High School. They, like many others, are bummed their senior year is not going as planned.

“It’s just really disappointing,” said Ethan.

Ethan was looking forward to one of his final drama productions, but just as they were starting rehearsals, school closed. So, they’ve improvised with video chats.

“We’re still doing rehearsals remotely, but we don’t even know if we’ll be able to put on the play this year,” said Ethan.

Jarod is the captain of the varsity tennis team. He said they made it one week into practices when school closed.

“I mean it’s the last year I get to compete and I was hoping to maybe make it to states again,” said Jarod.

Jarod is also a studying welding in the Capital Region BOCES program, which is a difficult trade to perfect without hands on practice. 

While Jarod has already decided where he wants to go to college, Ethan is still in the application process.

“I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails saying that most applicants will probably be hearing back a lot later since they don’t have much staff on hand at the school at the moment,” said Ethan.

Their mother, Kristen Rackliffe, told NEWS10 ABC she has been looking forward to watching her boys walk across the stage from the day they were born.

“I’ve spent 18 years waiting for this day. So it’s been rather sad. To think we’re not going to be able to watch them walk across the stage is heartbreaking,” said Kristen.

She said while it’s upsetting to think that their year could be over, she wants what is safest for everyone.

“Do we want them in a school with 1,400 people? Is that safe? So, it’s tough,” said Kristen.

Stefanie Simkins is a senior at Columbia High School in East Greenbush.

“Not being able to walk through the halls with my friends every day is really hard,” said Simkins.

She said, that while she cherishes a lot of great memories they’ve already made, most of the fun senior stuff happens towards the end of the year.

“We were really looking forward to prom and going camping for that,” said Simkins.

She told NEWS10 someone in her class was able to create a page for college commitments so that their classmates can follow each other’s accomplishments.

“Since we won’t be able to have our Accepted Students Day at school where everyone wears their shirts, they’ve been doing it online, so everyone sees where everyone is going,” said Simkins.

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