Defining the Class of 2023

The Class of 2023 recounts the moments, events, highs and lows that defined their experience at MCHS


Savannah Heidler

The Class of 2023 throws their caps at the end of the graduation ceremony at McCracken Field on May 20 — the first combined graduation held on the newly-renovated football field.

Gabe Santos, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The class of 2023 has been described as the “torch bearers.” The class that carried every group, every club, and every sport through the pandemic. This final year has been their only normal, uninhibited year by COVID 19. It is safe to say that it’s been a long and hard journey for our graduating class of 2023. With the world in such a complicated state, as the seniors come out the other side of high school, what do they look back on as the defining moments of their high school careers?

Unanimously, every senior that we reached out to said that COVID was the largest factor in their experience. “Covid was the defining event,” said Vanessa Moreno. “I don’t remember much of freshman year, but I definitely remember being in my culinary class and hearing the announcement that we wouldn’t have school the next day, and, well, the rest is history. We did not come back.”

However, COVID also marked a very hard time for the world in general. The January 6th riots, the 2020 Election, the bush fires in Australia, the California wildfires, the war in Ukraine, the death of the queen– all in a 4 year time-frame. To say it has been tumultuous would be a massive understatement. Could high school still be enjoyable even with life inside of it and out so intense? 

Resoundingly, seniors have cited extra-curricular activities as being crucial in their high school years. 

Theater is a big thing for me. It allowed me to meet so many great people, and to do something that I love. Theater was definitely the best thing about high school for me,” said Marissa Meyer. 

Joining clubs and participating in student activities can make students feel more connected to their school, and provide them with a group of people with shared interests. It allows for opportunities that students wouldn’t have had otherwise. Also it give students something to look forward to other than homework and studying, which can make school more enjoyable. 

Extra-curriculars also provide a chance for students to go outside McHenry, and make memories across the country. “Going on tour with the choir to Orlando, Florida was a very memorable experience. I became closer friends with people I did not know very well beforehand, and it was such a good time,” Apryl Hannamen added. 

Even within our school there have been some serious changes that have affected the students. 

Meyer said, “The biggest change that has impacted me was probably the change to freshman and upper campus. I hated having to go to the West campus & I still wish I was at East, but I did meet a few pretty cool people because of the change.” 

With all said and done, the seniors are able to look back at it all as a worthwhile experience. 

Moreno described, “It’s bittersweet. So many things made these past four years miserable, but I found something I love [to do]. I spent so much time wanting to graduate and leave to the point I wanted to drop out, but now that it’s finally here, I don’t want to leave.” 

As well, Hannamen would explained how it’s all been very complicated. “My time at MCHS has been a roller coaster of emotions. A lot of my time here has been incredibly fun and exciting, but not everything was always easy. It has been difficult to balance school, a job, extra-curriculars, and my family and friends. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunities MCHS has provided me over my four years.”

However, with all of the events, highs and lows, they got through it all and inspired classes after them to keep on keeping on, and that is an accomplishment worth looking back on with pride. After pushing through it all, the MCHS class of 2023 will, without a doubt, excel in their future endeavors.