Welcome to my editorial column as editor-in-chief for The Avonews. I’ll be covering a wide variety of topics from my perspective as a member of the graduating class of 2022, but if there is something you’d like me to specifically comment on, leave a reply under this post and I’ll look into it.
For the past two years, the pandemic unleashed a rollercoaster of changes throughout our everyday student lives. Everyone pivoted to virtual schooling last winter. A number of students in each grade stayed virtual almost all year. Anyone old to enough to attend Prom in spring 2020 completely lost that chance. Anyone looking to play Spring sports in March and April and May 2020 lost that too. The COVID path of chaos is clear. Luckily, this school year, 2021-2022, offers high hopes for bringing back what we enjoy about our student lives.
Seemingly normal this year, besides masks, daily school life functions (for the most part) as it had pre-pandemic. However, going back to normal has been a drastic change within itself. Over 500 students, the highest number in the high school in many years, now return to navigate a changed school.
Freshmen, having missed out on 2 of their 3 middle school years, are settling down with the ‘big dogs’ this year. The club fair on September 15, which ran at the suggestion of our photographer Alexis Schmigel, allowed for freshman to quickly get involved in high school life, including a number of totally new or very new clubs that people missed since March 2020.
Sophomores, too, are experiencing their first normal year of high school, in person, moving classroom to classroom. They also are now the oldest students in the building for the most time, as Juniors and Seniors often arrive after LEAD, may attend CCAC classes, or have early release in the afternoon MODS. So since sophomores are here the most, does that effectively make them the “leaders” of the school? Certainly I can speak on behalf of seniors when I say we spend the least amount of time at the school, however that factors into the answer.
Personally, I believe sophomores should receive some sort of status for being the oldest students spending all their days at school, However, I only believe that the Freshman would view them that way and not the upperclassmen. This larger platform for leadership should also come from sophomores getting more involved in sports and clubs. However, when I interviewed a number of sophomores, it seems if you’re in 10th grade, you might be doing the complete opposite. Being back seems to be bringing enough stress to some itself, causing them to not want to participate as much as they would possibly pre-pandemic.
Sophomore Sydney Nelson said, “I’ve had trouble adjusting to in-person school. As an introvert, coming back to school after a year and a half of being nearly completely alone, and now having to be around people all the time has affected my mental health. I’ve been having trouble paying attention to my work, which is an issue id never had before.”
With Junior year comes the rush of advanced classes so you can attend your dream college, and with that comes a constant battle of balancing school, work, social life, and extracurricular activities. Being that everyone is in person now, teachers may be showing less leniency to students in this post-pandemic year. Juniors seem to have it the hardest here in the high school currently. Junior Mia Burnett mentions, “Balancing everything is definitely a challenge, I am personally taking only honors or ap classes. So, finding time to do work is rare my after-school hours are not really open since I have work. I normally try to get most of my homework done between lunch and my open mod.”
Seniors return with the most knowledge of how Avonworth High School was before COVID 19. They love having back the Lopes Lounge they knew as freshman, but now they’re even more busy sorting out college applications within these first months while balancing the workloads of the final classes needed before they depart from our high school journey.
Senior Luke Woodfill expands on what these first two months as a Senior have been like post-pandemic. “It’s an oddly familiar yet distant feeling to be having a mostly normal school year for the first time in a while. I enjoy being back, but adjusting is still difficult. Balancing school work, college applications, work, a sport, and my grad project is very overwhelming. I usually have a crammed schedule. When I get up in the morning, I don’t really stop until I go to sleep. Some days I go to school, straight to practice then to work; those days are the hardest.”
Hannah Palmer, Senior, also relates to the need to balance her school and work-life this year. “I’m still kinda working on the balance portion. There’s so much I want to do and need to accomplish that’s hard to do with school work and work.”
Riley Carroll, attending Beattie for Nursing, is also back in session, non-hybrid, so this year has also caused the need for some adjustments within any 12th-grade student. “Beattie has been very different this year compared to my past years, and it is actually going to be my first full year attending. It’s good being back, but it’s also hard. It’s like the whole world stopped for almost 2 years and we are expected to continue this almost normal life as nothing happened. I’m happy I get my senior year at Beattie, but I’m just so lost and confused about everything. For some people, everything seems to be easy, but for me, it’s not. This rapid change between unnormal and normal life is a struggle and I hope it’s worth it.”
Usually, high school students remember their friends, specific hilarious or horrifyingly embarrassing moments (sometimes those happen at the same time) , and the big moments of their four years at Avonworth: Prom, Homecoming, Loud/Energetic Fan sections, Graduation to name a few. In 2021-2022, it’s good to get back to having these in person again. The stories will be different for each grade, memorable not just because its your only four years of high school, but because its also probably different compared to so many kids before you and maybe so many kids after you, too.