‘I want to hear my name across the stage’: Coronavirus took away his senior year, but he still wants a high school graduation

"Especially where I come from, not many of us even make it."

Devon Lewis Thompson, a senior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury.

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This story was told by Devon Lewis Thompson, a senior at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury, and has been transcribed and edited from a conversation with Emily Turner. 

Life is a lot of things hitting at once — very chaotic right now, especially with the recent news that they’re closing down schools for the rest of the year. It’s kind of hard right now to stay positive about things. Of course, you always want to be optimistic. There’s always the hope that things will get better, but it’s been hard because a lot of experiences have been taken away. 


It’s been difficult especially with friends. There may be people that I won’t ever see again — people in my senior class — because after this we all go our separate ways. 

I’m still trying to explore my [college] options; I’m deciding between two or three now. It’s one of those things where I try to be optimistic. I want to go to college, and I want to have these experiences, but there’s also the other side: I may never start off as a freshman on campus living in a dorm. I may still be at home, having to do a Zoom call. 

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I don’t think I’ve ever been at home this long. Even though I love [my family], seeing them this often is weird. I miss walking down the street and taking the bus — the little things.

[For] me personally, graduation wasn’t always necessarily in the picture. A couple years back, I was a troubled kid. I often didn’t come home. I was just out there doing my own thing. A lot of the time graduation was out of the picture. I actually have the opportunity to graduate now, and they’re saying it may or may not happen. It’s kind of hard. It’s one of those things where I really needed that. Getting a diploma in the mail isn’t enough for me. I wouldn’t feel like I earned that if they just sent it in the mail. I want to hear my name across the stage. I put my family through a lot, especially my mom. They deserve to see me up there. Graduating is the least I can do for them, show them that I’m on my way to something. To have that taken away from you, it hurts. Now you’re just like, ‘What now?’


I think a lot of people should see and understand that we seniors are going through a lot. Especially, [for] the people who know what graduation, what senior pranks, and all that stuff feels like. Especially where I come from, not many of us even make it. You’d be surprised how many of us don’t even get this far. [Understand] that a lot of us aren’t throwing everything out the window. We’re strong. We’re not going to give up. We’re just going to keep a level head and just keep pushing forward until we can make it.


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