Class of 2020: Moving Forward

Air Date: 05/28/2020

"I'm most worried about people in my family getting sick. My family lives in a multi-generational set up, so we are all very focused on keeping my grandma healthy."--Mia Hernandez, Sidney. UNL Class of 2020

"It has been especially hard to focus on school work at home because you miss your friends and you wish we could just go back to the way it was."--Charlie Dvorak, Howells-Dodge High School Class of 2020

High school and college are years of great memories for many young people. It’s a time of friends, experiences and activities. For High School Seniors, the year is filled with special events like prom, decisions about their future and of course graduation. For many college Seniors it marks the end of their formal education years and the beginning of professional careers.

This school year has been different for parents, educators and of course students. Covid-19 caused a school year unlike any other. The pandemic erased prom, spring sports and other activities. Even graduation ceremonies were cancelled for many. It’s been a memorable year, for different reasons.

So how have high schoolers and college students coped? How can they learn from this experience and move forward? This program includes students expressing their feelings, emotions and experiences in their own words. A school counselor and a mental health professional reflect on the impact of this school year and what tools are available for students and their families to move forward. And a college Senior joins the conversation to relate what she and her peers have been going through.

On the program:

Dr. David Miers

Dr. David Miers, PhD, LIPC, is the Counseling and Program Development Manager for Mental Health Services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, NE. He has been with Bryan Medical Center for 22 years. Dr. Miers received his B.S. from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a M.S. from St. Cloud State University, and a PhD from the University of Nebraska. He is a Licensed Independent Professional Counselor. He is a member of the American Association of Suicidology and is a Suicidologist. He is the co-founder and past co-chair of the state of Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition and current Board Member.  He is on the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Nebraska Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Dr. Nancy Kelley

Dr. Nancy Kelley, PhD is on faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is the David Scott Diamond Professor of Public Affairs & Community Service with the Grace Abbott School of Social Work. She is involved with intergenerational efforts on mental and behavioral health. Prof. Kelley is on the NAMI-Nebraska and Nebraska Family Support Network Board of Directors. She is on the Behavioral Health Advisory Council for Region 6 Behavioral Health Care in Nebraska. Dr. Kelley holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Utah and Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

Saisha Adhikari

Saisha Adhikari from Omaha is a Senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Majoring in Biology, Psychology Public Health, Ms. Adhikari is on the Student Health Center Advisory Board and is a member of ASUN, the University's student government organization. With ASUN, she is represents the College of Arts and Sciences and is Diversity and Inclusion Chair.

Corey Farlee

Corey Farlee is a School Counselor with Grand Island Public Schools. She was a classroom teacher for 10 years and with a Master’s degree in Counseling has been a School Counselor in Grand Island for the past four years. Ms. Farlee holds a Master's degrees in Counseling and Education from Doane College. She received her Bachelor's of Arts degree from Hastings College.

Dr. Miers replies to John's question:

Great question. There are two very important periods of brain development. One during infancy when attachments are being formed and again in adolescence where relationships are being formed. It is too early to tell what the effects COVID-19 will have on development but one could predict that the pandemic may have a positive impact on infant/parent attachment. In today’s world one or both parents are often both working outside the home while children are in childcare. COVID-19 has forced the majority of working parents to work from inside the home with no childcare. This has provided additional attachment and bonding time that would not otherwise been possible.

Adolescents is a time where friendships are formed and social development happens. This is when social and emotional development often takes place. COVID-19 has forced adolescents away from school and their teen groups into their homes with their parents. Yes, teens can still communicate with their friends through social media but it is not the same as in person 1:1 or group interaction where much of the social and emotional development takes place. As I stated earlier, it is too early to tell if there will be an impact to development due to COVID-19 but if there is I would see it being in this area of development.

Dr. Miers

Class of 2020: Moving Forward is a production of NET Television. Copyright 2020.