20200415 Jolie

Jolie Seitz is a senior at Roosevelt High School finishing her final year through distance learning while making a final college selection.

So, you’re cruising along the homestretch of high school with the top down, on the verge of spring break in your senior year. Kind of a coastal highway with pretty views of the future. And whose views could be clearer than the Class of 2020?

Then the wheels start coming off. No prom, no spring sports, no commencement, no senior party. What can you do but pull over? Plans will have to change. Forget final semester academics, here comes a global pandemic. All of a sudden, things got blurry for the 2020s.

But they started coming back into focus this week when 2,300+ DMPS seniors began blazing a trail for grades K-11 in “distance learning.”

After a survey determined who lacked computers and/or internet access, the necessary tech was distributed and students got back on track toward their finish line.

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Another member of Roosevelt’s Class of 2020, Dede Vleyee is on track to graduate and head off to college.

Jolie Seitz is a senior at Roosevelt who sounds like she hasn’t missed a beat despite all the COVID-19 noise and disruption. Maybe it’s got something to do with her designs on a career in audio engineering.

“I think my plans for next year will only be impacted if we are still quarantining in August as I will be moving out of state and paying private/out of state tuition depending on where I’m going,” Jolie said. She’s headed for either Belmont College in Nashville or Columbia in Chicago. “I’m not sure I will want to do that if I am not getting the full experience, especially with my specific major.”

What about missing out on all those rites of seniorhood?

“I’m not at all upset about senior activities,” she told us. “I was planning on attending, but with the state of the world and online schooling, I’m much happier to just wrap up the year and move on. I’m curious to see how classes of 30-40 will handle the issues with online class but my informational meetings have shown that if everyone is on mute it tends to run smoothly.”

Dede Vleyee is another Roosevelt senior. She came to America from Africa as a toddler and grew into a student leader in high school. She appreciates the district’s commitment to tech assistance for students who needed it to complete their studies.

“I plan on studying communications and public relations to become an event manager and I’ve chosen to start at DMACC and then transfer to Central College in Pella,” said Dede. “I’m glad they provided laptops for those who didn’t have it like me (and) that the school is looking out for the underdogs in this difficult time. I actually had my first class yesterday and it was great seeing everyone. I had a sense of normalcy and it wasn’t like a teacher just standing and lecturing. It’s more like a classroom environment really. We still acted like everything was normal. Mrs. G (AP Government teacher Amber Graeber) interacted with us, we joked around, we listened and it was like okay, maybe this isn’t so different. It was actually breathtaking.”

Wow, you hear that, Mrs. G? Breathtaking!

Graeber responded by returning Dede’s compliment.

“She’s super-involved here and a lovely kid,” Graeber said, “big into iJag (Iowa Jobs for American Graduates), Senior Board and Interact Club. And she really needed a device and WiFi.”

Dede deserved no less, just like her 2,300+ fellow 2020s. They may not get their proms or pomp and circumstance, but they’ll get a breathtaking homestretch of high school like no other, one to talk about at class reunions to come. Oh, and they’ll get their diplomas too, the old-fashioned kind with fancy fonts on fancy paper.

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