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How the coronavirus pandemic shaped the 2020 senior class

Frederick Douglass High School principal Ellis Duncan (right) congratulates a graduating senior with an elbow bump during a drive-thru celebration event at the school in Atlanta's Center Hill community, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Graduating seniors were given their diplomas, cap, gowns and academic and athletic awards during the drive-thru event at the school. Students were also given a chance to be photographed win their cap and gown which was provided by the Frederick Douglass High School Alumni Association.
Frederick Douglass High School principal Ellis Duncan (right) congratulates a graduating senior with an elbow bump during a drive-thru celebration event at the school in Atlanta's Center Hill community, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Graduating seniors were given their diplomas, cap, gowns and academic and athletic awards during the drive-thru event at the school. Students were also given a chance to be photographed win their cap and gown which was provided by the Frederick Douglass High School Alumni Association.

The coronavirus outbreak disrupted the lives of students around the world. In Georgia, schools statewide closed their doors in March and remained closed for the rest of the school year.

For the high school and college classes of 2020 that meant a loss of traditional coming-of-age rituals like prom and graduation, replaced with socially distanced celebrations and drive-by ceremonies.

Through it all the seniors persevered, learning to adapt to the new normal of life during a pandemic.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution followed several area high school and college students through their last months of the school year, talking with them about how their lives were impacted and what it all means for their futures.

Read about the unprecedented school year, the 11 students profiled by the AJC and hear how they faced the challenges.