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For High School Senior, New Hampshire's Coronavirus School Closure Is Hard To Process

Courtesy of Cadence Solsky

It's been a tough week for New Hampshire students, teachers and parents.

Governor Chris Sununu officially closed schools for the rest of the academic year, which means seniors like Cadence Solsky of Concord will spend their last semester of high school at home.  

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NHPR's Lauren Chooljian has been checking in with seniors to see how they've been coping with all this change during their final year of high school.

In the days after Sununu's announcement, she caught up Cadence Solsky while she was doing her favorite isolation activity: horseback riding.

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Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity

LAUREN CHOOLJIAN: Hey, how you doing? 

CADENCE SOLSKY: Good, how are you? 

CHOOLJIAN: Good. Where are you? 

SOLSKY: I'm at the barn and I'm actually sitting on Fillion right now. 

CHOOLJIAN: You are? 

SOLSKY: Yeah. 

CHOOLJIAN: How is Fillion today?

SOLSKY: Pretty hot-headed. It's windy out and we're in the outdoor and that just gives him a lot of energy. 

CHOOLJIAN: So, when you heard that Governor Sununu is going to close school for the rest of the year, what did you think?

SOLSKY: I knew that was going to happen. I think we all did. I've had multiple teachers telling us that we aren't coming back. I was just kind of like, I guess, not in shock, but kind of a mix of emotions. I'm not really sure how to process that because it's like almost everything that you look forward to in all of your years of education is just not there anymore. But when talking to my health science teacher, he said that some of the teachers are really fighting to make sure that we have a prom and a graduation, it just might have to be later on. Although, in an email back to students, they said that we would have a graduation, but put graduation in quotation marks. So that's making me a little nervous about that. 

CHOOLJIAN: What do you think that means? 

SOLSKY: Oh, probably like virtual, like get a PDF diploma over Zoom or something.

CHOOLJIAN: How are you gonna, you know, commemorate the end of high school on your own? Have you, have you thought about that?

SOLSKY: Uh, no, not really. Really, the best thing, the best celebration at this point would just be seeing people. Like my 18th birthday is on the twenty ninth of April and I'll be celebrating in isolation with my family. Who I've had quite a bit enough of.

CHOOLJIAN: I think everyone can relate to that.

SOLSKY: (to horse) What are you doing?

CHOOLJIAN: Oh, how's he doing?

SOLSKY: It felt like he was walking weird when I was on top of him, which I think he was, just to get me off his back. You jerk. 


CHOOLJIAN: Do you think Fillion can tell when you've had like a really emotional week.

SOLSKY: Horses will completely take advantage of that. They can tell your emotions. Especially fear, they pick up on really well. So like if I've had a particularly like, anxiety ridden day and I get on Pressley, he will totally take advantage of that. And like Fillion (HORSE NEIGHS IN BACKGROUND) kind of uses it as an excuse to get out of work. But they know. They definitely do.

CHOOLJIAN: So going forward, I mean, do you think it changes anything in your mind when you sit down and do remote learning now that you know that you're not going back?

SOLSKY: I really can't sit down and do it anymore. I just, like I'm struggling big time. Especially with the few things that were like kind of our reward for public education up in the air? I just don't really have the motivation to do it, as bad as that sounds. The only thing keeping me going is that I need the college credits. At this point, they should just be giving us our damn diplomas and giving us our credits because it's absolutely not fair to be expecting the same performance from us when we don't have the same advantages. It's just not.

CHOOLJIAN: Yeah. Do you have any advice for your fellow seniors in high school around the state?

SOLSKY: No because I’m probably not the person they want to take advice from right now (laughing)

CHOOLJIAN: Why is that? (laughing)

SOLSKY: Because I just did a month worth of economics work in one week because I didn't do it previously.

CHOOLJIAN: That must have been so intense.

(noise in background)

SOLSKY: Fillion. That was really mean. 

CHOOLJIAN: Uh oh, what do he do? 

SOLSKY: He just ripped my phone out of my hands and then dropped it.

CHOOLJIAN: I think that means he wants us to hang up so I’ll let you go. Alright take care Cadence.

SOLSKY: Alright you too. 

Cadence did get some good news this week. She committed to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Lauren is a Senior Reporter/Producer for NHPR's narrative news unit, Document.

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