The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

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The COVID class

Reflections from seniors on their journey from lockdown to graduation.
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Four years ago, the Class of 2024 left school and didn’t return until their freshman year. They’re now preparing to graduate as the first class to make it through school under COVID restrictions.

Four years ago the whole world changed.

As eighth graders, the Class of 2024 thought we were just going to miss school for a week or two and then be back; little did we know what our lives would look like afterwards. 

We had all heard about the COVID-19 virus and how it was spreading around the world. It was the big talk all of the time, and no one really had answers to what it really was.

I think that it was an interesting time that our class got to share and go through together. It might have been frustrating at the time, but now we all bond over the memories.

— Ava Kensinger

“Other organizations were closing and other states were closing; we were just waiting on a word from our governor,” said Principal Mr. Richard Schreier.

On March 13, the decision was made for everything to be closed for two weeks to “flatten the curve.” 

“We had gotten the announcement in eighth period that we would be out of school for a week, and then it had changed to two weeks before I had even arrived home,” stated Chance Schreier: who is now a senior.

Some people had doubts and thought everyone was being dramatic about COVID-19; others thought that it was only going to get worse and that we would be out of school for even longer.

For their part, all of the students were super excited to get out of school, like  Josh Dorminy, whose birthday is on this day.

“It was the best birthday present I could ask for at the time,” he had said.

Students and teachers had to adapt to many different learning styles over the next couple of years. After it was announced that we would not be back for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, we had to do virtual learning, logging on to iPads or computers to locate and complete online work assigned by our teachers. As middle schoolers, it wasn’t easy, but we could manage.

“When we were this young and learning virtually, it was manageable, but I honestly couldn’t imagine trying to learn calculus or physics over a computer screen!”  said senior Vincent Cacciotti.

In the fall of 2020, the start of high school for the Class of 2024, we had to wear masks throughout the school day, which nobody was a fan of. There was contact tracing and temperature checks in homeroom every morning. Lunches were divided between several rooms to avoid crowds, Hallways and stairwells had one-way directions. In one of the weirder turns, sports came back midway through the fall, but athletes were forced to mask up, no matter what the situation, Football players, basketball players, cross country runners – all had to wear masks.

Students split time coming to school. Half of the students would physically go to school, while the other ones were virtually learning. These days would alternate between the groups each day. This was hard for many students who struggled to learn in so many different ways at one time.

We started to find a rhythm, but that quickly changed. In November, with a new waive of COVID infections rising in Pennsylvania, school closed after Thanksgiving and students would not return in person until after the new year. Instead, B-A teachers streamed classes to students from their classrooms on campus.

Then in January when we came back in person under the hybrid model. 

“Adapting to the new learning styles was difficult. Virtual was very hard to be able to pay attention to. When we were hybrid, the kids in school seemed to learn better,” said Chance Schreier.

Some students struggled and started to fall behind. Some of those are still playing catch-up.

“We are still seeing the academic decline students experienced during COVID in the students we are currently teaching,” math teacher Mrs. Dawn Frank said. 

For the Class of 2024, tenth grade year was a bit more normal. We had to wear masks, but everyone was in school. We still had to quarantine if we were exposed to someone who had COVID, but it was a nice break from school sometimes. More and more restrictions were starting to lift, and life seemed to be going back to the way it was. 

During junior and senior year there were almost no restrictions at all. Things were definitely different and always will be, but our last years of high school together were still enjoyable.

For years later, with graduation on the horizon, we’re still trying to discover what it all meant.

“I think that it was an interesting time that our class got to share and go through together. It might have been frustrating at the time, but now we all bond over the memories,” said senior Ava Kensinger.  

There are good things that came from COVID, such as adapting to the digital technology that we now use daily. There are also some bad parts that came along with it. Our teachers and principal had to make tough decisions, and kids became used to not attending school. 

Overall this was a true learning experience for everyone. The adjustments that were made were successful, and we now know the best steps to take in case something like COVID were to happen again. 

(Although I think everyone hopes they will never have to experience something like this in their lifetime again.) 

 

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About the Contributor
Chloe Brown, Staff Writer
Chloe Brown Grade 12 Years in BluePrint: 1 What do you hope do this year: I hope to get the BluePrint's TikTok page famous. Outside activities: Volleyball, Track, Basketball Manager, NHS, Renaissance, Spanish Club, Key Club, Reading Competition, Speech League, FCA Why did you take BluePrint: I want to have fun writing stories, and be able to be creative on the BluePrint's different forms of social media.

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