LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it's been especially hard on the senior class of 2020, who's missed out on most of its normal graduation celebrations.
Alex Elliott, a senior at Palo Verde High School, hasn't let COVID-19 keep her from achieving her dreams, but she admits it hasn't been easy.
"I feel like the worst part is missing graduation and then also not being able to say goodbye to my friends when I didn’t know that school was going to end. It just so abruptly happened," said Elliott.
Like everyone else, COVID-19 caught Elliott off-guard.
"It’s a hard time because I didn’t like being quarantined, you know. It’s not the same. I was expecting to have fun with my friends and going to graduation, but then I got used to it and I understand this is part of life," said Elliott.
Forced to stay inside and do distance learning, Elliott could've coasted through the second half of her senior year. Instead, she adapted her learning approach and worked even harder, taking a combined 5 A.P. and honors classes on her way to earning a weighted GPA of 4.5.
"It was hard at first because I like having a teacher there teaching me so I can see it and it’s easier for me to talk and ask questions. But then, after a while, it’s like now I can focus more on myself and also doing school," said Elliott.
The novel coronavirus cost Elliott her senior volleyball season and the chance to walk across the stage for a traditional graduation. But, she stayed positive.
"Graduation, it was hard, because I was expecting a big graduation ceremony with my whole family there. But, I just got used to it, knowing that it’s ok that it’s going to be virtual," said Elliott, referencing her school's plan to host a virtual graduation ceremony that family and friends can watch from home.
Perhaps Elliott's most impressive achievement yet is her charity work, starting a lemonade stand in seventh grade and growing it every year since. Her lemonade stands have raised a total of $50,000 for childhood cancer.
"I love children. When I grow up, I want to be a pediatrician, hopefully. I want to be a doctor for children. And I just thought about how it hurt me, emotionally, to know that these children are suffering. I was like, 'I really want to help them as much as possible in finding a cure,'" said Elliott.
Next year, Elliott will be staying local, attending UNLV in the fall, where she's earned a scholarship to study Biochemistry. After that, Elliott plans to go to medical school to study to become a pediatrician.