Teen Photographer Creates Poignant Gallery of Mira Costa Seniors
May 31, 2020 08:33AM
By Jeanne Fratello
Photos by Leah Szabo; Text by Charlotte Sabina
Collette Tibbetts had planned a trip to the UK with a group of seniors. After years of long hours at a bakery, she finally saved up enough money to travel, “It worked out perfectly, we booked the tickets.” Tibbetts recalled her excitement about the trip, “[I was thinking] what’s going to stop us? I mean, nothing is going to stop us, nothing is going to get in the way of this.”
When President Trump announced news about the UK lockdown, she still thought her trip could be salvaged. It couldn’t. Tibbetts canceled her flight three days before I took her photos, “It’s senior year, it was an end-of-high-school, before-we-go-our-separate-ways trip. You know it won’t be the same. It sucks, it really does suck.”
Tibbetts seemed determined to still go on her trip, albeit the uncertain times. However, she recognized that the trip would be very different from her original plan, “When am I ever going to get that chance to do that again with those people?”
Tibbetts is an award-winning participant of the Model United Nations program at MiraCosta High School, and an honors student. “You pay your way all of these years of doing school for second-semester senior year. You can really appreciate the time and the effort that you put into things. I don’t really get to celebrate that. My brother is graduating college, and he’s going to get a slip in the mail as his graduation.”
Tibbets will be attending University of California, Berkeley next fall.
Ella Brown had the opportunity of a lifetime: She was headed to Italy with Mira Costa High School’s Grammy Award-winning choir during Holy Week. She would perform at iconic landmarks, such as St. Mark's Cathedral and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Lindy McNamara is an avid dancer, looking forward to Dance Team Nationals this spring. “I’ve been on the team for 4 years, so I was super excited for my last year on the team and Nationals is like our last hurrah. Our competition team learned our dances in the summer and we’ve been working on them the entire year.”
All sporting events have been cancelled until 2020, leaving senior athletes without an opportunity to put their practice into action.
Additionally, McNamara enjoys her social time, “This quarantine has made a huge impact on my senior year because second semester is supposed to be all fun and living the best of our last moments before we leave, so it’s sad that we have to spend those moments isolated.”
Lindy’s sister Katie McNamera described a similar loss: “[I spent] lots of hours in the gym sacrificing my social life, all for nothing. “
Lindy McNamara will be attending American University of Paris next fall and Katie McNamara will be at the University of Washington.
Bella McDaniel had rehearsed tirelessly for her upcoming musical, “It was something that meant the world to me. The musical is such an amazing process and I was so excited to have a role.”
McDaniel explained that the scope of cancellations was so much more than just the events themselves. “...No drama final-bow or senior speech, no goodbyes, it’s really, really hard.”
Kelly Shea was forced to blindly choose her college. Shea was unable to tour schools due to the outbreak of the virus. “Things can look good on paper and be way different in real life. The only thing you could do about it was go on virtual tours and talk to counselors, but there’s a difference between seeing pictures and actually experiencing the campus and the students and faculty for yourself.” Shea did not have the resources to tour schools previously, and was counting on her senior year for school tours.
“Quite honestly it has been pretty devastating. For me, since I will be attending a college out of state, that means that my time with my friends is more limited than in-state students. I also love my teachers, and to realize I probably wont get to say goodbye to them and to all these people who I’ve grown up with who I probably will never see again, is pretty heartbreaking.”