Monday, November 30, 2020
42 F
Monday, November 30, 2020
42 F

Missed Performances, Derailed Traditions: Freedom Student Ponders Senior Year During Pandemic

Editor’s Note: This article is part of’s ongoing series, “The Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles,” the county’s historical experience of the pandemic. Click here to see more of the series.


This was supposed to be Mason Hedge’s big senior year.

His last time on Freedom Area High School’s musical theater stage. His last prom. His final walk to the school’s alma mater as he accepted his diploma.

Instead, Hedge, 18, of Freedom is sitting at home, looking at scholarship applications, shooting some hoops, thinking about where he might study musical theater performance in college, exercising on the treadmill, and messaging with friends.

“I gotta keep my mind busy or I’ll die from boredom,” he said. The activity could also keep his mind off his disappointment.

Tonight, Hedge was set take the stage as the male lead Seymour in Freedom’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

He and the cast, directors, stage crew and orchestra members had been hard at work nearly every day since mid-January on the show. Freedom Area is known for putting on top-notch performances, and Hedge had been in the prior five as well.

When school districts first closed schools, the show was postponed. When districts were forced to close longer, the show was canceled.

“It kinda took a blow on me,” Hedge said of getting the news. “My heart just sank. It was my final musical and I was gonna go out with a bang. … It really hit me.”

Hedge said his director hopes to find a way to put on the performance in the summer, if things get better. “But for me, it’s not going to be the same,” he said.

Prom hasn’t been canceled yet, Hedge said. It’s scheduled for May 8 and “promposals” and dress buying have already started, so kids are crossing their fingers.

On Monday, Freedom will begin online instruction and Hedge doesn’t know exactly what that will be like yet. But his school day will be from 10-2, broken up into four blocks each day and including personal learning time he must track, as well as some class video conferencing.

He’s also working online now with fellow members of the school’s newspaper at They’re planning to put their next monthly print edition in school lunches being provided to students for pickup at three locations.

Hedge is still hoping that classes may resume, and he doesn’t want to think about graduation possibly being canceled.

“It’s kind of scary,” Hedge said. “I definitely want to walk that stage. I definitely want the recognition. I don’t want to think about it yet. … It would be devastating.”


An Important Message To Our Readers’s coverage of the novel coronavirus is being made freely available outside of our normal paywall. We believe the information we are providing is important to all members of our community and should not be limited to just those with financial means.

For those who are able to support our efforts, we would appreciate it if you considered subscribing to gain access to all of our award-winning local reporting. As always, thanks for being a reader of!

Sign Up For Full Access To

Lori Boone
Lori Boone
Lori DeLauter Boone has more than 20 years of experience in investigative and community journalism. She’s won more than a dozen regional, state and national journalism awards.

Reader Comments:

Latest News

Beaver County’s COVID Infection Levels Highest Since Pandemic Began

Beaver County is seeing its highest COVID-19 infection levels since the global pandemic began, according to the most recent...

Beaver County Shuts Down Booking Center As COVID Cases Continue To Spike

Beaver County has shut down its Regional Booking Center (RBC) due to the raising number of COVID-19 cases being experienced locally. Housed at the Beaver...

State Rep Matzie Closes Office To Walk-in Traffic

State Representative Rob Matzie (D-Beaver/Allegheny) has closed his office to walk-in traffic. Matzie said residents should call his office, which remains open and staffed, at...

County Treasurer’s Office Closing Over COVID Concerns – Employee Tests Positive

The Beaver County Treasurer's Office is closing today over concerns about a continuing spread of COVID-19 within the courthouse. Employees of the office will...

Beaver School District Goes Virtual – 163 Students Under Quarantine

The Beaver Area School District has closed its schools and moved to online-only education after dramatic increases in the number of students and teachers...
error: Alert: Content is protected!