Students Speak

Hear from high school students about how the pandemic has affected them this year.

     As soon as you step into the halls of West High your freshman year, you are excited to start a new chapter in your life. You have waited your entire life to see what this defining experience will hold. Most highschoolers patiently wait to experience memorable events such as homecoming, prom, assemblies, and of course being at the top of the school as a senior and getting to experience everything that you have seen the past senior classes experience. But with the CoronaVirus sweeping the nation, the omission of those events has drastically changed people’s high school expectations. The pandemic has taken so much from people and pulled the rug out from the plans that students have made for this school year. “There were things I already planned for senior year, such as prom, senior pranks, etcetera…” says senior Timothy Cui. “But now those plans have been canceled. It sucks cause I have been looking forward to these for a couple of years and now I can’t do them.” This is the theme that echoes throughout the class of 2021. They only had a normal high school experience for two and a half years, before the world shut down. “So far I’ve missed the 2020 BPA National Competition in Orlando, Florida. Junior Prom and all BPA activities this year so it is just a let down for senior year and there is nothing to look forward to.” explains senior Mary Woodward.

Trailing three years behind the seniors is the class of 2024. The class that will be remembered as the class that entered highschool during CoronaVirus. For any other class, they walked through the doors of West on a warm August day and saw their friends and peers from Junior high. Some had changed their look up a lot but every freshman shared that sense of excitement, open mindedness, and nervousness as they started their high school careers. But for the class of 2024, they clicked on a zoom link during a rainy September day and were entered into a zoom room where they saw only their teacher’s face and a bunch of black screens staring back at them. “I do think that I’ve missed out on things. Things like sports, homecoming, and clubs are such well-known parts of high school that almost anyone who has watched a high-school movie in the past fifty years has looked forward to.” explains freshman Andy Ham. “I haven’t seen some of my friends in almost a year and I haven’t gotten to meet new people,” says another freshman, Maddie Otis. The feeling of loneliness is a common feeling for most teenagers, but it is much more prominent now because of the pandemic. When asked about the hardest part of starting freshman year online, Miles Mohammed ‘24 said, “Definitely the solemn subdued mood I feel everywhere. Nobody feels like talking in classes, and nobody really wants to participate in class. I often feel as if I am the only one in a good mood in most of my classes.” This sentiment is something that all students right now are feeling. Even for the kids that are coming back to in-person classes, there is still an awkwardness in the classes. Everyone is masked and socially distanced, there are no group science labs, or clustered tables in classrooms.

The social impact is the hardest adjustment, no one interacts or talks in classes still because of social distancing and the fact that we haven’t been together for the whole year”

— Maddie Otis

The freshman and senior classes are both feeling a very strong feeling of being left out. The freshman class hasn’t gotten a chance to interact with new people around school, or really get to know the school. Part of this is on the administration, “I feel as though the school could’ve done so much more for the current Senior Class so as a whole we kind of feel snubbed and ignored. Were going to miss out on two proms, all of our events, and a homecoming. Senior year is about leaving school during opens and getting take out or going home and taking a nap during your open fourth. You might think those are lame little things but when you miss out on that privilege to do those things it’s ultimately very disappointing.” explains Woodward. For the senior and freshman classes, this year was a colossal event that has drastically changed their lives. Not having a proper introduction or farewell to highschool makes a huge difference and will forever be the background to their high school careers. The class of 2024 and 2021 have waited their whole lives for these huge moments that they are supposed to remember highschool by. But instead, they are sitting behind a zoom screen or masked up in class, not able to experience the moments that they have looked forward to since the day they walked into kindergarten.