EUGENE — Last spring, as a seventh grader at St. Paul School here, Alexis Kamaru helped out at graduation. She witnessed joy and camaraderie. Next year, she thought, it will be my turn.

But things happen. This year, St. Paul may hold an online ceremony or have commencement later in the summer — if COVID-19 has lifted.

“We were just a little disappointed,” said Alexis, who began at St. Paul as a kindergartner. “We have been here for so long and have built a community and we wanted to end it together.”

Alexis, though frightened by the virus at first, has stayed busy at home, logging in to classes. An A student and a Renaissance kid, she also takes voice lessons and practices violin, piano and ukulele. She has taken up painting.

Her hopes now are focused on her first year at Marist High School. 

“Hopefully there is a physical first day and we don’t have to quarantine,” she said. “A lot of us are really excited to start new.”

She admits that some of her classmates feel cursed. As fourth graders, they missed out on the annual field trip for reasons she can’t recall. 

Phones, tablets and social media mean she has been able to stay in touch with friends, a grace that redeems the whole bad situation. 

She wishes she’d had a chance to say farewell in person to teachers and schoolmates.

One benefit: Alexis has more free time. The pace is slower and more reflective. She and her family are regulars at livestreamed Masses. For the first time, she has noticed the amazing changes in spring plants and the calls of birds. She realizes she is blessed that her parents have jobs and they have a home.

The lesson of the pandemic for Alexis: Take nothing for granted.