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For Wainwright kindergartner, picture day brings wave of emotions during coronavirus pandemic

(KTUU)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 9:33 PM AKDT
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No matter how young or old you might be, the day you receive your cap and gown is meant to be a special one.

For one kindergartner who lives in Wainwright, this year's Picture Day was just that, but perhaps not quite how he would've expected when the school year started.

Terrance Ahmaogak, 6, and his fellow Alak School students are going on nearly a month-and-a-half without in-person schooling. On Wednesday, he and his classmates got to go back to their school for the first time in weeks to get their caps and gowns and take their school photos.

Along with other students, a few teachers were around to help them get ready, as were some of the students' parents.

"He was able to see some of his classmates," said Terrance's aunt, TommiLynn Ahmaogak. "They were all excited, yelling each other's names. They were all in the gym at the same time."

Terrance had one main message during a FaceTime interview Wednesday evening: "'Hi' to my friends and 'Hi' to my family!"

But, while there's no doubt seeing friends and schoolmates brought him much joy, a photo shot by his aunt shows Terrance sitting, slouching by himself at center court of the school's gym, after his picture was taken.

"This picture speaks volumes of what our kids are going through during this," TommiLynn said. "A lot of them miss school and their classmates."

Normally, Terrance goes to school from nine in the morning to around 2:30 in the afternoon. Instead, he's mostly at home, working on paper packets and trying to keep up with schoolwork.

With the help of his aunt - who also juggles work along with schooling Terrance - he will graduate from kindergarten this year, and will enter first grade in the fall. His aunt said she can only hope that things return to something closer to normal by that time of the year.

"We're hoping things go back to normal next school year," she said. "That way it'll be easier for them, and us that go to work as well."

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