“It’s Bittersweet:” Teachers Say Goodbye to the Class of 2023


Skyline Graduation. Credit: Meredith Giltner.

The seniors are leaving. It’s a reality teachers face with each year’s senior class. This time of year is always difficult for teachers despite the normality of the occasion. “When the seniors leave, there’s a big hole,” echoes Jeff Oleksinski, AB/AP Calculus, and Analytical Thinking teacher. “ I wish they’d fail so I could have them again!” 

Beyond this general sentiment, all interviewed teachers seemed to share similar views about what makes the class of 2023 unique. “They created a new way to be a high schooler more than any other class I’ve seen so far,” claims Carina Seitz, AP English Literature and Women’s Literature teacher. The class of 2023 navigated virtual learning and came out of it more self-aware and thoughtful. “They have the confidence to say they need this or that.” 

Casey Elmore, a Small Learning Community Principal, sees the class of 2023 similarly. “Students are more aware of their limits,” says Elmore.

This class of seniors made their mark in a variety of ways, from founding a newspaper to being leaders [in what?]. “[The Post] wouldn’t exist without them,” remarks Annie Blais, Journalism, and English 12 teacher. Blais credits the seniors with this achievement and also concurs with Elmore about the class of 2023’s leadership. “They have the ability to name their own experience and advocate for themselves in a way that is different from previous generations,” said Blais. “[They’ve] been leaders coming out of covid,” echoed Elmore.

All four had vastly different final messages. “One of my favorite things as a teacher is to help kids through this transition,” says Blais.

 “It’s fun to follow students’ journeys,” says Oleksinski. “I love it when they reach out.” 

Sietz is excited to see what the class of 2023 does next: “I don’t think they need me anymore. I think that’s the best thing I can say about them.” 

Elmore capped off her interview with some powerful advice. “Dream big dreams and go after those dreams,” she said. It’s clear the consensus among teachers interviewed is that the class of 2023 has changed how students approach teachers and the mark they left on Skyline’s culture for future generations.