Graduation got a little more tangible for seniors at Hayes High School as they picked up their caps and gowns ahead of commencement next month.

Seniors will get their diplomas on May 20, but they stopped by the entrance of the school Wednesday to get their outfits for the ceremony.

Senior Gabrielle Anderson said she was looking forward to getting her cap and gown as it means she’s one step closer to graduating.

“I’m excited but nervous because the year is coming to an end,” she said. “It means I have to go into the real world and do big people stuff, but at the same time, it’s exciting to know I’m doing something different.”

Anderson said that after graduating, she plans to attend college in Boston or New York, but she added she’ll miss Delaware, where she has attended school for her entire life.

“I’ll miss the small community,” she said. “I think I’m going to a big city, so I’m going to miss this type of community and the First Fridays that we have and stuff.”

Anderson said while she’s going to miss Hayes, she’s excited about the rest of her senior year.

“I’m looking forward to closing everything out, making the most of the rest of the year,” she said. “It gets really stressful towards the end but I get this sense of satisfaction that I finished four years of high school and I’m going off to bigger and better things. These last four years have gone by so fast, especially with COVID. It’s definitely a unique experience that I didn’t expect to go through, but it made me treasure my time here.”

Senior Braden Krauss said he’s looking forward to finishing up his classes and graduation requirements so he can just enjoy whats left of his senior year.

“It’s definitely flown by this year,” he said. “I’m very excited to get through the year and get to college and see what I can do. I’m looking forward to having fun and socializing (this year) and getting all my classes and assignments over with so I can just have fun.”

Krauss, who plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to study data science, said the pandemic made high school an unusual experience.

“It’s hard to compare it to much else,” he said. “It’s a unique thing. It certainly wasn’t everything I expected it to be. It could have gone better, obviously, without the pandemic but given all we were dealt, I’d say it worked out pretty well. (Getting my cap and gown is) kind of surreal.”

Senior Lara David agreed that the pandemic changed everything, but she actually learned a valuable skill last year when she was part of the Delaware City Schools Online Academy.

“(The pandemic) genuinely helped me,” she said. “I was able to work more hours and was able to build a work ethic for myself. Being able to go online helped me find how to discipline myself and push myself.”

David said she enjoyed returning to in-person school this year, but she’s excited to be nearly done with school.

“I’m ecstatic,” David said. “I’m so ready to be done with school. Being able to pick (my cap and gown) up is like me knowing this is the next step in my life. It’s kind of sad in a way. These are all the people I’ve grown up with my whole life. These are people who have supported me. It’s going to be weird not having all my teachers able to push me past my limits, but I have a feeling I’ll be coming back here a few times since I have younger siblings.”

David said she plans to take a few years off of school after she graduates. Her plan is to find a job and eventually move to Arizona to “give myself a fresh start and learn on my own.”

David said underclassmen should enjoy their time at Hayes while it lasts.

“I know school sucks but cherish it while you can,” she said.

Braden Krauss, a senior at Hayes, holds up his cap and gown Wednesday. Krauss, a senior at Hayes, holds up his cap and gown Wednesday. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

Hayes High School senior Gabrielle Anderson holds up her cap and gown Wednesday. High School senior Gabrielle Anderson holds up her cap and gown Wednesday. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.