Thursday, March 12, was just like any other school day for Brennan Domerese, a senior at Bay City Central High School. Little did he know at the time, that this would be his last day of school for the year and his last high school experience. Schools were ordered to shut down due to the COVID 19 Pandemic and the shutdown was continued for the remainder of the school year.
For graduating seniors all around the country, it was heartbreaking. No prom, no parties, no senior trip, no hugs or final farewells. “Nobody really saw it coming,” says Brennan. “I went to school on a Thursday. That turned out to be my last day of high school. I missed my golf season. I missed the last chunk of time with my friends. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends or to my teachers.”
Brennan had worked very hard while in high school. With a 4.2 GPA, he had achieved the honor of being the Salutatorian for his class. He has been a member of the National Honor Society since he was a sophomore. His proudest accomplishment, however, was participating in Unified Champions (previously known as Project Unify). Unified Champions is a division of the Special Olympics that is about joining the general education students with the special education students, giving all students much needed attention, and a true high school experience for all. Members of the group are looked upon as leaders of the school. The one-on-one time Brennan spent with the students is something he will always remember.
Working with the special needs students at the Summer Olympics held at Central Michigan University in May was what Brenan found to be his most rewarding high school experience. “I enjoyed my work at the Summer Olympics. I feel like I made a difference.”
At the time of this writing, plans for a graduation ceremony at Bay City Central were still up in the air. They may hold a drive by ceremony at the school later in the summer. Another thing on hold for Brennan is a long-planned trip to Mexico with his good friend’s family in June.
The best thing about high school for Brennan was the friendships he has made. “I made a lot of friends who I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life,” he says. The teacher that made the biggest impact on him is Penny Hildinger, who was the coach for Unified Champions. “She was always someone I felt I could talk to about anything.”
What does the future hold for Brennan? He is currently enjoying the summer with his brothers and his family members, and will continue to work at Menard’s in Bay City, as he has throughout the Pandemic. He will be attending Michigan Technical University in the fall and the university is fully prepared to welcome students, staff and faculty for the 2020/21 academic year. According to a letter Brennan received from the school, Michigan Tech has created a program, MTU Flex, which involves in-person and online instruction or a combination of both, due to constraints that have been imposed by COVID 19. “I already know who my roommate is and I am looking forward to this next stage of my life.”
Brennan Austin Domerese is the oldest son of Melissa Alward and Brock Domerese, and is the grandson of Cheryl Dennison (My City Magazine Staff Writer), Phillip Alward, and Bob and Kathy Domerese of Fenton.