The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.
ROMA, Texas (KVEO) — Mariella Reyes is the valedictorian for Roma High School.
Mariella tells CBS 4 she and her classmates are realizing how much they value friendships and the daily interactions they had at school before the lockdown began.
Mariella and her friends text each other whenever they’re feeling isolated or frustrated with spending their senior year at home, not seeing each other in class before going off to college.
“The memories you could’ve made, the school trips you could’ve gone to, you miss the connections people had. You would go say hello to people, you would hug them, and now it’s like do I wave to them? Say ‘hi’ to them? Give them a hug? You can’t do that anymore. I miss that.”
As she stays at home, the world now at a halt, she sees her family in a new light.
“I learned being with family is one of the best things in the world. Always stay close with them because moments like this, they’re what you need.”
Seeing essential workers keeping her community, and our nation, going, has changed how she sees her future.
“I want to be an essential worker,” she said. “I want to help people during these times and give back because that’s what people need the most, giving back and helping. I pray for the best for all of us. We will get through this.”
Mariella sees how this has been difficult for many people.
Despite the struggles, she believes sacrificing many things in everyday life, including graduation ceremonies, is worth it to keep people as safe as possible.
“This will make us better, all of the nations going through it together, I feel like there will be a good outcome, how we see the world, we can change it, we can see how things are going now and we can make a difference for it.”
She plans to attend Texas A&M Kingsville, majoring in chemistry. She wants to be a pharmacist to give back to the community.