BRUSHTON –– The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have wiped out or dramatically altered the traditional sources of senior-year memories –– prom, commencement, senior trip –– but the top two seniors in the Brushton-Moira Central School District said they made the smaller memories all the more precious.
“Like most 2020 seniors, my high school experience feels incomplete and cut short,” said Alena Machabee, the BMC Class of 2020 valedictorian. “It almost feels surreal that after months of online learning … that high school is over. However, reminiscing with friends and looking back at memories have helped add some sense of closure to this chapter of my life.”
“Despite all the trials of our senior year of high school (construction and COVID-19 included,) there were a few moments that helped us get through these trying times,” said salutatorian Maya Mackey. “The majority of those memories consist of eating lunch in my physics teacher’s room with a group of my classmates (also known as “Todd’s Lunch Bunch”), winning mini-Olympics and dressing up with some of my friends as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on Halloween. Although the larger milestones of our senior year … were pushed to the wayside by the onset of the coronavirus, those seemingly insignificant moments were suddenly all we had left. We understood the importance of maintaining connections with each other, more than we ever had before.
Like Mackey, Machabee recalled events that in normal times might have been overshadowed by the more momentous events of senior year.
“Hanging out in Mr. Todd’s room and all of the mischief and random debates that ensued, Ben Schack’s terrorizing robots, playing Marvel-themed music in band, inside jokes and Math Meme Mondays with Mrs. Phippen and my mini math class, bonding with Mr. Fletcher over geology and snacks, and an amazing soccer season full of team memories are all some of the highlights of my senior year,” she said.
“Overall, my experience at BMC has been chaotic at times but definitely very memorable,” she added.
“Suffice to say, my high school education at BMC was certainly interesting,” she said. “I’m lucky that my class, the Class of 2020, is an extremely close one. Most of us grew to be friends at the start of high school, and a lot of us have been with each other since the very beginning. The last months of our time together being disrupted by the coronavirus, albeit depressing, only strengthened our relationships with each other.”
“Every student body in a small-town school district will tend to be a close-knit group of individuals,” Mackey continued. “When obstacles present themselves, as they are currently, we are all the more united and every bit a team. The Classes of 2020 everywhere have persevered through every misfortune that’s managed to occur so far in 2020, and this has shown me that we’re a determined and capable generation of teenagers that are more than prepared to take on adulthood.
“As in most life experiences, the people you meet throughout your time on this earth and the relationships you form with those people are what make the journey (along with the bumps in the road) so worthwhile. Furthermore, I’d like to thank every senior graduating alongside me this year for rising to the challenges presented to us; and I’ll always be grateful for the memories I collected with each of you at BMC.”
Machabee, daughter of Charlie Machabee and Rebecca Oey, was the president of Varsity Club, president and “Supreme Overlord” of band, vice president of the Class of 2020, vice president of National Honor Society, and captain of the girls varsity soccer team. Throughout high school, she balanced involvement in jazz band, New York State School Music Association band, Area All State Orchestra, Dollars for Scholars, Jr. Iron Chef, Environmental Club and extracurricular harp lessons while earning a 98.57 grade point average.
She plans to attend Ithaca College to pursue her interest in environmental science and saving the fishes in the fall.
Mackey, daughter of Darren and Jodi Mackey, was president of her class, and has been part of the National Honor Society. She has also participated in Dollars for Scholars, all while working a part-time job at Bokie’s Drive-In and earning a 97 GPA.
She will be attending St. Lawrence University to major in psychology and minor in foreign language.