The ENC student body and faculty received an email from President Dr. Jack Connell on March 13 indicating that unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the school was canceling classes through March 19 and moving fully online. No demographic was more impacted by this abrupt news than our beloved senior class. The class of 2020 had to abruptly wrap up their final year of college and a lifetime of academic milestones. They quickly lost the chance to go to that last ENC sporting event, the last chapel, enjoy walking the stage at commencement in May, or a last night in the dorms.
“My first reaction was definitely sadness,” said senior and Executive SGA President Noah Cheney. “I knew that senior year was going to have to end at some point, but I figured I’d have a little bit more time to […] handle everything coming to an end. [As] the month of April came I’d have time to appreciate the small things as senior year closes up, but with everything coming to an end so quickly and unexpectedly, I would say sadness was probably my initial feeling,” said Cheney.
Senior Noah Cheney
Cheney will miss the community aspect of the campus most of all. “[I will miss] the people for sure, just the interactions in the caf, like walking through the dugout, seeing people you know. I was talking about it with my roommate Cody [Cook] and even on a busy day you have a quick 30-minute break to go to the caf, […] see a bunch of your friends and talk and you weren’t expecting those […] interactions. The friendships not only with my peers, but with the faculty and staff and even the administration, everybody has been like a family member to me,” said Cheney. “They’ve welcomed me with open arms. The interaction with people every day is what I’ll miss the most.”
Cheney still plans to be an active alumni member of ENC’s class of 2020. “I’ll definitely try to come back whenever I can […] depending on how close I’ll be. I would love to make it back for Homecoming Weekend next year and the many years to come. I see myself coming back as much as I can as a future ENC [alumnus],” said Cheney.
Cheney recently was accepted into American University in Washington D.C. for their graduate program. He will be pursuing his Master’s Degree in Sports Analytics and Management. “I’ll probably be doing that online because I also have an internship with the NCAA starting in May this year, as long as it doesn’t get cancelled with everything that’s going on with COVID-19. It’s with the NCAA basketball academy. So, I’ll be working out of Indianapolis, Indiana for the time being. I possibly have a job opportunity with the Indiana Pacers once the NCAA internship is over,” said Cheney. His role with the Pacers would involve basketball operations.
Senior Rachel Guidice said, “when I first heard the school was closing, I was completely heartbroken. ENC had been something I had known as my life for the past four years, and to have it abruptly come to a halt without any chance of closure or time to prepare was crazy.”
Senior Rachele Guidice
Guidice, like Cheney, will miss the social aspect of the college. “I will miss the late-night runs to Wendy’s and how easy it was to hang out with friends and make plans,” she said.
Guidice does not know what God’s plan has in store for her next, but she’s embracing that uncertainty. “I do know that everything happens for a reason. So although I’m sad my college career has ended, I look forward to what God has planned for me as my life changes so drastically,” she notes.
Senior, Jannon Smith said, “I was kind of more surprised by how strange of a situation it was, but of course I felt a little sad about it. I understood that we were going to leave at the end of the semester anyway, but it was not the best way to end obviously.” Smith will miss his friends, some of the professors, living in the Quincy area, and the freedom of being in college. He is not sure what is next for him, but he is actively seeking employment and says, “I’ll figure something out, hopefully.”
Senior Jannon Smith, far right
This will not be the last we see of Jannon Smith. “I think if I’m in the area I will definitely stop by, but I’m not sure how often or if I will many years down the line, but I got love for ENC”, said Smith.
ENC Women’s Basketball point guard and senior Shante Slender said, “my first initial reaction for my senior year being cut short is we played hard. We gave it our best shot. [I’m] just grateful I was able to play my last game.” She is referring to finishing the season after an injury. She was a part of a gritty women’s basketball team that narrowly lost in the title game.
Senior Shante Slender
Slender will miss being able to go to classes in Shrader Hall and being around quality people. She is looking to continue her internship into the second year at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Mass. “Last year I did programming for the aviation system department and this year I’ll be working within the Cyber Office for Weapon System,” said Slender.
This is not how the Class of 2020 wanted to leave a place they called home for four years. We sure will not forget the contributions they each made to the campus atmosphere and community.