MANAHAWKIN, NJ —  When the Stay-at-Home Order began and schools went virtual, immediately people thought about the Seniors and what that may mean for the milestones and moments they are supposed to experience at the end of their high school career. 

This year's Senior Class Advisors, Mrs. Bischoff and Mrs. Logue, along with many other teachers and staff, delivered yard signs to surprise the Seniors with on Easter Sunday. 

Physical Education teacher, Mrs. Sharkey, was among those who helped deliver the signs. Sharkey said "Southern Regional Seniors are simply extraordinary. My heart is heavy with compassion for their COV-19 reality and yet their energy, optimism and wholesome focus lifts my spirits every day."

Sign Up for Barnegat/Waretown Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

With so much uncertainty of the future, we wanted to share the pictures of the Seniors with their signs and get their take on virtual learning and how they are adapting during this time. 

Senior and Varsity Cheerleader, Shayna Rainone said: 

Virtual learning is definitely challenging, but something that we must adapt to during these difficult times. We no longer have the guidance from our teachers that we are used to in the classroom, so we're responsible for picking up on the lessons being taught and the assignments we are given. Southern teachers have been excellent with helping as fast as possible through email and Google Classroom and I couldn't be more grateful! This is nothing like the senior year class of 2020 had been looking forward to however, with the kind gestures that our class advisors have been doing for us it's definitely making a difference in our lives!

"Their positive attitudes make Google Classroom palatable, but doesn't compare to in-person teaching and learning," Sharkey stated. "In my 30+ years as a teacher, I strongly believe our number one educational tool is making relationships, in person. And for Seniors in the spring time those relationships usually include sharing a lot of milestones, celebrations, and personal growth & reflection."

For another student, perfect attendance was something he was striving to obtain for his four years in high school. 

That student is Nick Gray, and he said, “Well, I spend most of my time inside, so I don’t have much to worry about. But having to deal with all this school work online is a real pain. I’m also irked because I have had perfect attendance for the entirety of High School, but what, it doesn’t count anymore? I guess the only good thing are the stacks I make at Target now that no one wants to work!” 

For Olivia Murawski, she misses the social aspect and the support she received from teachers and other classmates, but stays optimistic for college in the fall and getting ready for that.

Murawski said, "I am hanging in there, which is all we can do. Trying to keep busy by shopping for college and talking to my roommate. I am looking forward to college when this is all over! I am going to West Chester University for nursing, and I am so excited to have a new beginning! I just miss all of my friends and my teachers... especially Mrs. Hughes, my Anatomy teacher. She was like my best friend when I was in school, and we talked about EVERYTHING!! I miss her advice, she would know what to say to make things a little easier." 

Mrs. Bischoff and Mrs. Logue said "We just want our seniors to know how much we miss them and how proud of them we are. We can't wait to see them again!" 

Mrs. Sharkey concluded:

I am so proud of the Class of 2020 and the way they have stepped up amid Coronavirus changes.  I vow to support them in any way I can, and there is no expiration date on that vow. Senior classes everywhere are responding similarly. I'd like to add a shout-out to our neighboring schools: Pinelands and Barnegat and wish their seniors and families well.  And on a personal note, a special shout out to my senior god-daughter and niece, Noel. The class of 2020 embarks on a new realm and has earned my respect & admiration with the promise of good health, prosperity, and peace.

TAPinto Stafford & LBI hopes these photos brought smiles to the Class of 2020 and all near them. 

Please stand near your signs and take a picture. We'd like to celebrate your Senior year with you. 

Email photos to: ksharkey@tapinto.net. We will continue to add the pictures as we receive them.