Skip to main content
Southwest Orange Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021 5 months ago

Summer School Zone: A student’s perspective on ‘the COVID year’

This senior at The First Academy reflects on the unusual 2020-21 school year and is optimistic for her last year of high school.
by: Guest Writer
Emma Pastis, The First Academy

By Emma Pastis, The First Academy 

We made it! While looking back on the crazy year that students and teachers both faced, I think we all can agree that this was a school year unlike any other. From sports to academics to extracurriculars, students and teachers alike endured many changes to the “normal” daily school life. 

But we all persevered through this crazy year, and I think I can speak for all students when I say this year made us much more appreciative of the little things. Now, let me take you back and look through all that was overcome during this unforgettable school year. 

I will never forget my first day of junior year. The “COVID year,” as we call it now. This was a first day of school unlike any other I have experienced. Lots of questions and uncertainty about the upcoming year filled the minds and conversations between students. 

The wearing of masks was the first big change that stood out to me. When we could previously see smiles from teachers and students displaying the excitement for the school year to come, that was now all covered up by a piece of fabric. When we could previously work with others during group work in class, this quickly no longer became a possibility because of physical barriers and social distancing. Lunch was even awkward at first as students had to adjust to not being able to sit as close to their friends and connect in the way they used to. 

Groups of people getting quarantined and sent home to learn virtually online became normal during this far-from-normal school year. The nature of sporting events became the most prevalent change to me. 

At my school, sports are a big deal, and we high-schoolers look forward to packing the stands in support of our team at home games (and even at away games, too). When space became limited at these games, students raced to sign up to secure their ticket, hoping they were able to secure a seat. 

All in all, at the conclusion of this year that was less than ideal, there were a few lessons I learned and things I took out of these unpredictable circumstances. I believe we all learned to never take for granted the small things that would normally go unnoticed. For example, the ability to be allowed to tightly pack the stands at a basketball game or even something as small as seeing the smile of a friend in the hallway. 

In years following this crazy one, normal things will become more exciting for teachers and students, and I now look forward for the year to come more than ever before. In hopes for life to have some normalcy again, I am excited and lucky that I will hopefully get to have a normal senior year before moving on to college. 

The Observer has invested in new technology, so you can enjoy a more personalized online experience. By creating a user profile on, you can manage settings, customize content, enter contests and more, all while continuing to enjoy all the local news you care about — Click Here it's FREE.

Related Stories