There are roughly three million high school seniors across America, all of whom are losing an important time in their lives to COVID-19. Sports seasons, graduation, senior prom, all gone.
Senior Mckenna Cottone spoke for all of America’s senior class on an episode of ABC’s Tamron Hall Show on Wednesday, April 29th.
The Tamron Hall Show is a widely popular daytime talk show that is broadcast daily on ABC. Millions watch the show and the show has featured guests such as Ryan Seacrest, Venus Williams, and Oprah Winfrey.
Hall has been doing extensive coverage of the coronavirus on her show, which is now filmed in her living room, but rather than focusing on numbers and statistics, Hall’s show takes a closer look at how the pandemic is affecting people’s lives.
That’s where Cottone came in. She and senior Mykel Alvin from Deerfield Beach, Florida joined Hall via video chat to discuss their personal experiences with the virus and how it had affected them and their senior year personally.
“Mckenna and Mykel you two couldn’t be more different” Hall said to open the interview.
Cottone was primarily upset about the loss of the various events related to the end of the school year. Alvin was greiving a recent friend’s suicide, and the inability to see his friends for support was getting to him.
Both Cottone and Alvin had to appear on the show via a live video chat with the show’s host Tamron Hall. All of them had just a camera set up in their living, no camera crews, no lights and makeup.
Cottone ended up on the show through a family friend’s connection to one of its producers. When the producer reached out looking for the perfect high schooler to represent the class of 2020, Cottone was recognized as an excellent choice.
Cottone wasn’t going to waste this opportunity to share with the nation exactly what the class of 2020 is going through and after hundreds of on stage performances at MN, the spotlight didn’t even phase her.
“I wanted to be a representative of our loss as a class,” Cottone said.
She found herself conflicted because she knew that she was “extremely blessed in comparison to other seniors who might have home or financial struggles”.
After voicing this to one of the producers, she was encouraged not to belittle her own losses and that her upset was just as valid as anyone else’s.
“At the end of the day I am missing out on important milestones along with the rest of the class of 2020,” Cottone said.
A major point that Cottone tried to convey on the show was her emotional experience with missing all of these important milestones in any teen’s life.
She told Hall about the particularly devastating cancelation of her final show choir performance, a sentiment that most of the members of MN’s varsity show choir, Infinity, share.
“We have witnessed so many friends have their final performances, senior prom and graduation, and unlike the classes before us, we will be leaving high school behind without saying goodbye.” Cottone said.
This lack of closure is just the problem that so many seniors across the country face, and exactly what Cottone conveyed to the country in her interview. However, she isn’t giving up on getting that closure.
“We’re going to put on a garage prom, we’re going to set up lights, have our own DJ, and try to make our own fun. It won’t be perfect, but in its own way it will be,” Cottone told Hall during her interview.
Cottone told Hall that she is managing to continue to see friends while staying a good distance apart from them in the process. With both of these in mind she’s managing to keep looking forward and stay positive during this time when it is so challenging to do so.
In regards to the future after the virus has subsided, “This is our opportunity to show how we can move forward. We’re going to be the class that survived a global pandemic, we’ve proved how strong we are and that we can change the world.” Cottone said.