The Class of ’23 Says Goodbye


By Chelsea Song

Crochet Club’s lei making session for the class of 2023’s graduation ceremony.

The year is ending, which means the seniors will soon cross the oval. The spotlight is on the class of 2023 as they finish another chapter in their stories. The majority of these experiences took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The class of 2023’s freshman year was the year COVID-19 hit. Their spring break was initially extended a week, which grew into their school year being cut short. Nyler Acasio, the class of 2023’s president, had concerns about the abrupt end to his freshman year and missing out on experiences.

“I was extremely hurt because I knew it was just the start of trouble since COVID was not going to disappear right away,” Acasio said. “I was looking forward to going out and doing stuff my sophomore year.”

McKinley is a school built on pride and tradition. Each freshman class goes into high school new to everything; the class of 2023 was no different. However, they only caught a glimpse of high school before it was cut short. Kiana Lovie Hung, the class of 2023’s vice president, was a part of the student council during COVID.

“It was a bummer but it was still memorable because I was still able to participate in some of the assemblies and traditions for the first time while it lasted,” Lovie Hung said.

For school year 2020-21, McKinley started on an optional hybrid schedule for students. It allowed students to come to school while staying socially distanced. The students who chose to come to school were separated alphabetically. The days were labeled as A, B, C, or D days, depending on students’ last names and grade levels.

Acasio was a hybrid student during his sophomore year. He said he felt being socially isolated and apart from his friends for most of the school day was lonely. At this time, he was the class vice president. He said the social isolation made it difficult for his class to stay in contact. Despite the restrictions COVID placed on the council, they didn’t stop communicating and creating interactive online activities for the class.

“There were only one or two people I could hang out with, but generally it felt pretty lonely,” Acasio said. “We were not going to let COVID stop us from being that leader.”

The student council along with Jodi Fong, the class of 2023’s adviser, didn’t let COVID put a damper on interacting and building a relationship within the entire class. The council worked hard to keep the same energy and enthusiasm that the class had before the switch to online school. Together they planned online game nights, movie nights, Kahoot, and held an UNO tournament.

“We did a good job during distance learning. We tried to get game nights together and just get the class to be involved in stuff,” Fong said.

Fong said the senior class of 2023 has grown a lot since their freshman year at McKinley.

Lovie Hung, the class of 2023’s vice president, said given the circumstances the council was put under at the time of distance learning, all of them pulled through and learned to be great leaders and people.

“I’m definitely a lot more outspoken and my public speaking skills have improved so much since my freshman year,” Lovie Hung said

Acasio has also joined many after school clubs this year such as Mock Trial, Future Farmers of America, Ignition, National Honor Society, and Chess Club. But during his freshman year he wasn’t involved in anything after school.

“I was the type of kid to hop on a bus as soon as the bell rang and just wanted to go home and do my own thing,” Acasio said. “But now I find myself staying after school quite a bit going to club meets and officer meetings.”

The class of 2023 is saying goodbye to McKinley High School and welcoming in the next stage of their lives. This class has been through the hardships of COVID and still pushed through to the end of high school together. All the seniors’ energy and excitement got derailed but they quickly picked it backup and came out stronger than ever, Fong said.

“If we didn’t have the pandemic, we would really be a force to be reckoned with,” Fong said.