Coronavirus and the Changing Face of Senior Portraits

On a sunny afternoon in late March, in compliance with the current outdoor activity and social distancing protocols, Mount Madonna School twelfth graders Fiona Burgess, Rachel Burgess, and Tabitha Hardin-Zollo posed in masks and mortarboards on the day they’d been scheduled to have their senior portraits taken.

“This is a big time in our lives as we are trying to decide where we are going to spend the next few years,” commented Hardin-Zollo. “I want to think out loud and talk this out with my friends because I care about their thoughts and input, and it isn’t the same over Facetime or Zoom, as much as we would like to think it is. I miss them, but at the same time it is all about perspective. By staying home and not being with each other, we are doing something for the greater good. And, this isn’t the end. We may have lost a few traditions and experiences we were all looking forward to, but we are still a close senior class and I can’t imagine my life without them.”

“The masks worn by the girls in the photo were unusable by healthcare workers and other first responders because of their age and irregular fit,” shared Hardin-Zollo’s mother Nanette Hardin. Hardin, who took the photo, said these masks had also been used to filter smoke during recent wildfires.

Senior Rachel Burgess reflected on how she is feeling in the present moment.

“As seniors, we want to celebrate the end of high school and hug our friends just out of reach,” said Burgess. “Six feet out of reach to be precise. We mourn the loss of all the end-of-school rituals and we yearn to be going out into the world. And yet we choose to isolate because we want to help keep people safe. I think maybe our isolation is a way of coming together.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, [email protected]

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.