‘You just want answers’: High school seniors left wondering on prom, graduation, college

This story is from the Omaha World-Herald.

By Emily Nitcher World-Herald staff writer | Mar 19, 2020 

Will Anderson wants answers.

Are his Omaha Central High School classmates doing all right? “You just want answers to all these questions you have,” Anderson said. “But no one has any answers.”

Will graduation ceremonies be held on time or at all? Is prom canceled? Will this affect his plans for college?

Five high school seniors from public and private districts around the metro area said they wonder if they have had their last day of high school.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday ordered schools in Douglas County to be closed for six to eight weeks because county health officials have identified a second community-spread case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Papillion-La Vista and Bellevue school districts in Sarpy County closed indefinitely this week in response to the spread of the virus.

Bellevue Public Schools officials said the proms for their two high schools are canceled. Other districts said it was too early to say what will happen to events such as prom and graduation.

Because of the coronavirus threat, the boys state basketball tournament was played with limited fans, and the Nebraska School Activities Association ordered a statewide suspension of practice for spring sports until March 30 and of competitions through April 2.

That leaves Papillion-La Vista High School senior Renee Thompson doing track workouts by herself. She admits it’s harder to stay motivated without the team aspect.

“It’s one thing after another,” said Papillion-La Vista South senior Shaeley Wiese of the closures and cancellations. “It’s all coming on at once and it’s a lot to think about.”

Wiese works for the district’s after-school program. She’s out of a job until classes resume.

Peyton Preston, a senior at Omaha Central High School, said her senioritis was real. She had moments when she couldn’t wait to leave high school and get on with her life. She regrets that now.

“You’ll never get to redo those memories,” Preston said.

While buying her prom dress Saturday, Preston kept joking that she probably won’t get to wear it anywhere.

College visits, high school classes and even lunch are now all virtual experiences.

Mary Clare O’Connor, a senior at Duchesne Academy, said she and her friends are planning to video chat during lunch so they can see one another.

Meanwhile, the date for O’Connor to pick a college is looming. She wonders whether the fall semester of college will even start on time.

“We’re going to be entering adulthood in this uncertainty,” O’Connor said.

All five said they want to be able to cap off 13 years of education with a cap, gown and their moment to walk across the stage at graduation.

If it’s postponed, canceled or held virtually, it won’t be the same as sitting through a ceremony and walking across the stage.

“Everybody else has done it,” Wiese said. “It’s a milestone or a checkpoint. Not being able to do that would be really disappointing.”

That moment still might come. Until then, the students sit at home and wait for answers.

“All anybody wants is more time,” Anderson said. “And now it’s all anybody has, and they’re anxious.”

Cass County students to begin medical residencies

By Brent Hardin | Mar 23, 2020 

From the Fremont Tribune.

OMAHA – Two Cass County natives have learned where they will serve their medical residency assignments for the next three to seven years.

University of Nebraska Medical Center announced the results of the school’s Match Day for 128 senior medical students on Friday afternoon. Elmwood-Murdock graduate Jordan Renee Bowman and Plattsmouth native Laura Elyse Newton joined their UNMC classmates for the event.

Bowman will serve her residency at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. She will study medicine-pediatrics at the facility.

Strong Memorial Hospital is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center. The hospital is the flagship facility of the URMC enterprise and has 886 beds. It is home to Golisano Children’s Hospital and has been designated as a Level One regional trauma and burn center.

Bowman was a member of the Class of 2012 at Elmwood-Murdock and majored in biology and pre-medicine at Creighton University. She has studied at the University of Nebraska Medical Center since August 2016.

Newton will serve her residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. She will study medical surgery at the facility.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is the flagship facility of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System in New Hampshire. The regional health system serves 1.9 million people across northern New England.

Newton graduated from Omaha Duchesne Academy in 2011. She majored in biology and anthropology/sociology at St. Olaf College before starting at UNMC in August 2016.

UNMC uses a computer algorithm to match students with residency programs across the United States. The computer program takes into account preferences of each student and the locations of open slots in their chosen medical fields. There are thousands of training positions available at teaching hospitals in the country each year.

Students will spend three to seven years studying in their residency programs before earning their medical doctorates. Bowman, Newton and the other members of the Class of 2020 are scheduled to graduate from UNMC in May.

Read the original story here.