'A New Normal' for Nebraska Graduating Seniors Looking to the Future

May 18, 2020, 6:45 a.m. ·

From left: Michael Swartz (photo: Laura Rodgers), Shawna Boverhuis (courtesy), Callie Easley (photo: Casie Haley), and Bailey Schneider (photo: Abi Lewis)

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From our America Amplified initiative, we hear the stories of four Nebraska seniors adjusting to a new normal and looking toward the future.

Michael Swartz, Creighton Prep

I'm actually a very social person and I thrive on the interactions with my peers and my teachers and just being online on a Zoom call has been very distracting to me.

We are a strong, close community, and it's very, very prevalent in, you know, the interactions in the hallways and in the classes and just how much we look out for each other.

Callie Easley, Roncalli Catholic High School

We try to be role models for the underclassmen since we’re pretty close with them. We just want everyone to realize what they have.

I didn’t know how much going to school meant to me until it was suddenly gone.

Shawna Boverhuis, Pawnee City High School

One of the most unexpected things that has come from it is all of the quality time I've gotten with my parents and my siblings.

I was really nervous about going off to college and not having everybody there with me. But this time with my family has really healed me of that. I'm not as nervous.

Bailey Schneider works at her family’s packing house, Sargent Packing Co., in Sargent, Nebraska. She cuts bacon, roasts, hams and answers the phone. “I wish I could do more to help,” she says. She calls the meat supply chain problems caused by Covid-19 “heartbreaking.”

Bailey Schneider, Sargent High School

I’ve been staying busy during this quarantine period by working at the packing plant in Sargent. It’s a family-owned business, so I get to spend lots of time there, even when I was younger.

I tell ya, we probably get 100-plus calls a day, just asking if there's any way that we can get a pig in or a beef in. But we have to say, “I'm sorry, we're booked all the way through November.”

These are my family members and I want to support them 100%, and I understand that they're under so much stress right now.

Doing everything I can to keep my family going strong, keep our business going strong, and helping other people to, you know, keep themselves going is such a wonderful feeling.

Music: Elevation by Joseph McDade