St. Viator High School graduate Katie McManaman served as co-president of the Inter-Class Council, the executive board of student government at the Arlington Heights school.
It was in that role and as co-editor-in-chief of the Viator Voice, the student newspaper, that gave her a front-row seat to all the goings-on at the school.
Besides her many academic awards and credentials, McManaman was also one of the Catholic school's top service-minded students: as a leader of Kairos, a four-day senior faith retreat; by planning all-school Masses and recruiting Eucharistic Ministers; and helping freshmen get acclimated during the start of high school.
McManaman will be majoring in computer science at the University of Notre Dame.
Here are some of her reflections on the irregular end to the school year.
Q: Were there any particular school traditions and events you missed most?
A: There are roughly four main things that a majority of my class missed: prom, senior celebration, baccalaureate Mass and commencement/graduation. We also missed spring sports, clubs, activities and other smaller things.
Q: How were you able to maintain school spirit and keep the senior class engaged, despite not being there for in-person classes and activities?
A: One of the many things that we were able to do was the senior issue of our school newspaper -- a 72-page issue full of submissions, hopes, dreams and ideas of the senior class. Our newspaper staff worked hard for two weeks with lots of Zoom meetings and long hours on the Adobe Photoshop and InDesign programs. The teachers, staff and faculty all worked hard to give us something to celebrate. We had a senior celebration parade where we received senior T-shirts, awards, cap and gowns, and other paraphernalia. We had a virtual graduation as well where we went to school in groups of 10 dressed in our caps and gowns to be recorded as we received our diplomas. All the film was then compiled into a video that was played on June 6. The teachers have sympathized with us, and it is amazing to understand that we are not alone.
Q: Were there any silver linings you found amid the unusual circumstances?
A: Although it may seem that there are not many, some of the small details are that there seems to be less schoolwork. (I don't know if this is true for everyone, and I have heard opposite opinions on the matter.) The AP exams were only 45 minutes each, and there were no finals (although seniors are usually exempt when they have achieved a certain grade). Also, there has been a bit of a monthlong celebration because everything was dragged out (a positive and a negative).