How The Aftermath of 2020-2021 Changed Our Student Body

Hands reaching out toward each other.

Hands reaching out toward each other.

Halle Saldivia, Reporter

It’s difficult to believe this school year is already ending. Our days of homework and studying are being  replaced by rainy summer days and excitement to make new memories. At the beginning, we were begging for it to be over. Now it is coming to a close. 

The school year went by quickly, at least for me. I was just coming in as a freshmen, and pushed into a new world of masks, vaccines, and classes. I, along with the student body, had to quickly adjust to the new rules and regulations the school made us follow, all while keeping track of the rising COVID-19 cases. It was difficult to adjust, as each classroom had their own rules to fight against the pandemic, and teachers had to figure out how to teach while also being safe, often giving troubles to the students or teachers themselves.

I was fortunate enough to adapt quickly, but there were a few moments in this year that had its ups and downs. My mental health declined as the year went on. There were a few uprising moments, but somehow, I always found myself sinking lower, like an anchor of a ship. I craved for the social interaction the school gave me. I didn’t think I needed it, as I was mostly a shy kid and almost never talk in most of my classes.

But I found that it wasn’t the lack of interaction between me and the students, but the lack of interaction between the students themselves.

Because of COVID-19’s safety guidelines, we were always forced six feet apart and touching was very limited. Teachers would tell students to stop hugging or tell them to stay away from each other as much as possible. Because of that, the level of interaction declined steadily.

Before COVID, it wasn’t uncommon to hear shrieks of laughter or people running to give hugs to their friends. It wasn’t uncommon to see people taking mini photoshoots in the courtyard or having a dance party with blasting music in front of the auditorium. Back then there was music at every corner, art hung on every wall, and a place where we could freely show our appreciation with friends.

Now the only music is the lone trumpet player that plays every second half of lunch. Even though at the last few weeks of school, there was music played and art hung, I felt like the interaction between students was robbed.

I’m not the type of person that would seek out interaction intentionally, but seeing interaction is different because it shows the growing bond between the students. It gives me my pint of energy to get through the day. It’s the thing that keeps me going because it breathes life into the campus. That is the only thing that I hope will be here next year. The students and their bond to each other and their art is what i hope comes back. I hope there is music. I hope there is art hung on every wall. I hope there is the shrieking laughter and the hugs. While yes, this is a school for the arts, it is also a place for students to find themselves and others.