As student council president at Geneva High School, Jack Viebrock saw firsthand how the Class of 2020 was affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year.
But he and his peers pushed through the challenges, he says, and are moving forward stronger than ever.
Viebrock was involved in student council throughout high school and was captain of the robotics team for three years.
He is attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall with plans to study engineering.
Q: What did you and your peers miss the most about the end of your senior year?
A: I think it's the relationships that people were able to make and the acquaintances they'd see on a daily basis that they never really got to say goodbye to.
I know that a lot of people were upset not being able to have a traditional ceremony that would normally mark their accomplishments, but I think everyone understood what was going on. ...
Student council met several times, and we tried to do a couple of things to try and bridge that gap between missing prom or missing certain things like writing senior names down the main hallway of our building. We actually created a website that honored all the students.
Q: How was your class able to get through that experience?
A: It'd probably be the support of friends and, for me at least, the support of my family. ...
Something that came up a lot during the pandemic was the resiliency of our class, and I have to agree that I saw a lot of that. You were able to see other people push through it and still be able to do their work and kind of be there for each other.
Q: How do you think the unusual end to your senior year will shape you and your peers moving forward?
A: Hopefully it's allowed everyone to see what's really important to them and to enjoy certain experiences more than they would before. I've learned that it's very important to push forward during anything, and I think that's very true right now, but I hope it allows everyone to do that in the future.