Rhody Royalty

Queen Jenessah will reign in 2021

PT junior reflects on life during a pandemic

Posted 5/20/20

Jenessah Seebergoss had dreamt of becoming Rhody Queen since she was in the seventh grade.

Now a junior at Port Townsend High School, her dream finally came true. In February, she was crowned …

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Rhody Royalty

Queen Jenessah will reign in 2021

PT junior reflects on life during a pandemic

Posted

Jenessah Seebergoss had dreamt of becoming Rhody Queen since she was in the seventh grade.

Now a junior at Port Townsend High School, her dream finally came true. In February, she was crowned Rhody Queen. But her time in the spotlight was soon stolen by the global coronavirus pandemic. One by one, all the parades and festivals she was looking forward to attending throughout the summer were canceled.

“We first lost our opportunity to go to our first parade of the season, the Daffodil Parade,” she said. “When I received the news that the Rhody Festival was canceled I was extremely shocked, although it was what I expected.”

As the pandemic reached Washington, life for Seebergoss, as for many, was quickly turned upside-down. Crowns and dresses were traded for face masks and hand sanitizer as she began to make her way through life during a pandemic.

“I never thought I would live through something like this — something that will go down in history,” she said.

As a social person, Seebergoss is usually involved in many different social, athletic and academic groups at school. She plays the flute in the school band and enjoys going on a yearly trip with the pep band. She tried her hand at cheerleading, and this past year traded that in for joining the basketball team. She loves playing on the volleyball team, and was hoping to try out for the spring play at Port Townsend High School, before all the students were sent home for the rest of their year.

School life is much different now.

“Most of my fear about the coronavirus is directed to my school activities,” she said. “I’m going to be a senior, and it will be my last volleyball season. It’s always been a part of me, and I’m worried volleyball practice won’t start at the end of the summer like it normally does.”

At-home learning is more challenging than being in a classroom, she added.

“I miss the face-to-face instruction,” she said. “I feel more productive and motivated at school.”

And most of all, she misses her friends.

“A lot of the time in band class I would feel bored and just want it to be over,” she said. “But I didn’t realize how much I do enjoy it until it was taken away from me. I would give anything to be around my bandmates playing music right now.”

Her jazz concert was canceled, the pep band’s yearly trip was canceled, and she’s hoping school will be back to normal by the time tryouts for the 2021 spring play come around so she can audition.

Having her junior year turned upside down isn’t easy, but Seebergoss understands the necessity of all these life changes.

“People my age, a portion of them aren’t paying attention to the stay-home order, but a good portion of them actually are,” she said.

She’s not worried about getting sick herself, but she does worry about others.

“Technically we could be carriers of the virus and not know it,” she said. “We could pass it on to someone who could die from it.”

Staying home all the time can be stressful, she said.

“It’s honestly depressing sometimes,” she said. “But I spend a lot of time with my family.”

She’s been learning how to cook and spending time in the garden, as well as occasionally hanging out with her little brother.

Springtime without the Rhody Festival will be hard, since Seebergoss has never missed a Rhody Festival or the Rhody Run.

“I love the festival because it’s a way that our little community can express ourselves,” she said. “A lot of people travel here to see our festival. I especially love the carnival.”

But Seebergoss didn’t lose her moment to shine as Rhody Queen — it was just put on hold. She and the other members of the Queen’s Court will get to carry on as royalty in 2021.

“I’m thankful I have been given another chance to represent the county,” she said. “It was amazing when I learned the Rhody Royalty would get to continue on next year. It shows that life’s misfortunes can bring new opportunities.”

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