HARRISONBURG — Another first day of school is in the books for Harrisonburg City Public Schools and Rockingham County Public Schools’ students.
But for some, Tuesday was the last first day they will have in terms of starting a new school year. For approximately 1,350 new high school seniors, Tuesday was just one of the last “firsts” they will experience as public school students — and the moment was bittersweet.
Chesney Whitmore and Micala Curry have been students with Rockingham County Schools since kindergarten. Now they are seniors at Turner Ashby High School. Whitmore is highly involved in school as the president of the Student Council Association, the Spanish club, Future Business Leaders of America and the chemistry club.
Curry is also involved in school. She’s the captain of sideline cheerleading and the president of the American Sign Language club.
High school — studying, extracurricular activities, friends, repeat — is all they’ve known for the last four years.
“It feels really good,” Whitmore said of finally being a senior.
“Yeah, but it’s also weird, only having one more year,” Curry added.
Both plan to go to college after graduating. Whitmore to a four-year college, and Curry to Blue Ridge Community College and then to James Madison University to be a veterinarian technician.
But before that happens, both said they want to enjoy their senior year to the fullest.
“I want to have a good, fun senior year that I can remember for the rest of my life,” Whitmore said.
Curry said if she could tell her first-day freshman year self anything, it would be to not worry if everyone doesn’t like you. You’re not going to make friends with everyone, she said.
Whitmore would tell his freshman year self to try harder to balance school work and friends, because often it can swing wildly from one to another without settling in the middle.
Like their fellow Turner Ashby High School seniors, Sweta Kunver sand Jane Thompson have been students with Harrisonburg City Schools since kindergarten.
Thompson said starting her last year of school “felt really good. Not to say the last 12 years haven’t been good but I’m excited to lean into something else.”
Kunver said she felt nervous about the idea of having to apply to, and go to college and be an adult, leaving behind the relatively safe structure of the public school system.
But that’s what senior year is for, Kunver said, adding that she hopes “to have more peace of mind after this year and confidence to go outside of school and Harrisonburg.”
But senior year should also be about savoring every minute and enjoying it to the fullest. “I want to have a good time, I’m not going to lie,” Thompson said.
Page County Schools start back today and have half days for the rest of the week.