Missing Faces

Madi Kribs, Sting Reporter

For the past couple of years, high school has been a learning experience for everyone. With the world in the middle of a pandemic, many teaching and learning styles had to be adapted. After our sophomore and junior year, everyone in the class of 2022 was just hoping for one more good year. That might be the case at some schools, but here at Chester High School, this year is its own kind of strange.
First off, being able to physically walk into the building on the first day of school, and not having to wonder when I would be coming back, was an amazing feeling. But after sitting through the monotonous orientation, and hearing the same things that have been heard for the past four years, it was time to meet my teachers for the year. I sat through first hour, then second, third, fourth, and fifth, and I had yet to see a familiar face. Of those five teachers, only one had taught at CHS before this year. I immediately realized that my senior year was going to be different. A lot different. Finally, sixth hour rolled around and I got to see a familiar face, the first one I’d seen all day. Sadly, it would be the last, as I realized I had a new teacher for seventh hour as well.
When asked how my first day of school was, I didn’t even know what to say. Everything was new: rules, teachers, and classrooms. As a senior, I expected to be used to the way things were. I assumed that I would know the school like the back of my hand, but that wasn’t the case. I felt like a brand new freshman, lost and struggling to get to know all of the new people. I miss the staff that I had my first three years of high school, especially Mrs. Petrowske.
I learned a lot from Mrs. Petrowske last year, not only about school, but about life. I spent 3 hours with her, so I got to know her quite well. She’s one of those teachers who takes the time to learn who her students are. There were many days when I would stay after class, even if it was just for five minutes, and unload my stresses and feelings onto her. She would be there with an open ear, always knowing exactly what to say. I related with her more than I have related with any other teacher I’ve had. I will never forget the day she told us she was leaving. It was our Coronation Day for Spring Formal last year, since everything was messed up from COVID. I had put a full face of makeup on that morning, and I was prepared to have a good day. That quickly changed first hour after she got in front of the class and recited her speech, which I then had to hear two more times that day. Any other teacher would have just simply told their students they were leaving, or some might have just made the rash decision to leave over summer break, without ever really saying goodbye. Not Mrs. P., though, she stood up and gave a whole speech causing that full face of makeup to get washed right off of my face.
It didn’t stop with Mrs. Petrowske, though. There were rumors about half of the staff leaving before the end of the school year. First it was the Normans, then Mr. Blechle, Mr. Schwarting, Ms. Kish, Mr. Hunter, and Mrs. Coop. Mr. Schwarting decided to teach a different class, and Mrs. Kish stuck around, but everyone else is gone.
One could say I am a person who just doesn’t like change, and I would agree with that when it comes to my senior year being flipped upside down. There are so many missing faces in this building it’s unreal. Not only do I miss the teachers, I miss the class of 2021. It just seems like half of the people who used to be here are no longer here. I had so many close relationships with “the seniors,” as I still catch myself calling them. But they aren’t seniors anymore. They’re freshmen, employees, and most strangely adults. They’re off in the world, truly beginning the rest of their lives. It’s scary to think that by this time next year, that will be me off in the world by myself, with even more missing faces and a million new ones. I’m scared, but I’m excited and eager as well.
I am hoping and praying every day that this year gets better and we can have all of the events that are supposed to happen during one’s senior year: Homecoming, indoor sports, Prom, Graduation, and every little event along the way. They’re already saying no bonfire and no Homecoming Dance, which means no indoor games for Spirit Week. I’m just really hoping for the Homecoming Parade and Coronation. If they can give us anything, I hope it’s those two events. I am so sick of missing out on important events that I will never get back because of a virus. I wish I could go back to my sophomore year and keep all of this from ever happening, but I know that’s impossible. I just want normal; no masks, no restrictions, and no more missing faces.