By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Imagine going to school for 13 years and not being able to celebrate graduation with all of the pomp and circumstance that you deserve because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That is what happened Samantha Chussid, who has just marked the end of her 13 years at Posnack School in Davie.

“We’ll make the best out of this ending,” she told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana.

But she feels distance learning has actually prepared her for the next chapter- college!

“I think that this has kind of taught us how important it is to stay together in spirit even when we’re apart physically,” Samantha said.

She says her proudest accomplishment in high school includes starting a club to spend time with other seniors, senior citizens, that is.

“Planting Smiles, being an inter-generational club, teams high school ages from 9th through 12 grade. We would go visit a nearby elderly home and we would plant herbs with them and perform other activities with them,” Samantha explained. “I was interested in that because I read an article about the correlation between teens and introducing teens to the elderly population at old age homes. And how it was correlated to them living longer and just being happier.”

She was nominated for a Miami Herald Silver Knight Award because of her work with “Planting Smiles”.

She was also the president of her school’s Holocaust Awareness Club.

Samantha is an accomplished athlete in cross country and tennis, and even received the Scholar Athlete Award for her school this year.

“In addition to those, I’ve won MVP and “Most Improved” and Coaches Award every year since middle school actually in my athletic career.”

As for her future career, she says continuing her work with the elderly is a definite possibility.

“I know they’re in every community. There’s always an old-age home and I think that it’s important to kind of interact with that since that’s my passion. So I think that in my college experience, I definitely want that to be a big part of it. I can very well do that in my career. I don’t know what I want to do, but that definitely sounds compelling,” she said.

Samantha is heading to Cornell University in the fall.

She’s arriving as a sociology major, but says she’s keeping her options open.

Lauren Pastrana