Today, it felt like we were beginning a “new normal.” Our school district started online classes. Our youngest is a senior in his last semester of high school. Since our district also employs a block schedule, he luckily has only a few classes. Here, I will admit that I do not do well with transitions or change. I am a person who likes the regularity and the routine of a set schedule. But, I will also admit that I am proud of how he seems to be handling this unique but collective situation.
Friday, we heard of the district possibly going online if needed. By Friday night, after we heard our governor speak on COVID-19, we knew that classes would resume using the internet on March 18th. March 16th and 17th were used as our two inclement weather days without student work, and in preparation for the students to start their lessons online today.
This meant, I assume, that our first-grade students missed making their Leprechaun Traps. This has been a traditionally fun day to see if any traps secured a little green man or any of their gold! It’s been a long, long time since I had a first grader but still, I mourn this loss for this year’s first-grade students.
There will be a lot of things missed and mourned in the next few weeks. Our teen, an artist- headed to college for a Fine Arts degree, seems to be dealing with the change to online classes and the halting of the spring track season without much anxiety or sadness. By all accounts, he seems to be embracing the change. The altered and abbreviated class schedule has him finished with classes by noon – free to study for his AP class final (which was already an online class) or do more art or train for the slim potentiality of a Spring Track and Field season. He’s been upbeat and even prepared his own study space for class time. Today, he rose at 7 am and was doing work by 8:30 in his virtual classes. His phone was in our kitchen. He agreed (willingly, actually) to place it there while he “attended school” each morning. He seems intent on doing a good job with this platform and is not dwelling on what he might be “missing” by not being “at school.”
But, for many more emotional teens, there are thoughts of the expensive prom dress that was bought early and still hanging, unworn in the closet as the date comes and goes or the senior banquet where they expected to be recognized as a scholarship winner or as class valedictorian – events that will most likely remain unrealized moments. Even for my son, who broke several sprinting records last year and ended up being the second-best (fastest) 200m runner in our entire state, there are some moments that are closer and closer to being lost.
But, while there might be unrealized moments, memory-making moments for some, there remains a great deal of potential to be had and realized in the future. The Class of 2020 at HHS is special. They have always been so. I worked closely with this class as elementary students, providing enrichment activities and groups to which many of them belonged as members. Most of them shined as leaders then and many are still shining as leaders now.
They are some of the smartest, most resilient and creative students I have known from their proclivity in math acceleration to their talents in music, athletics, and the visual arts. Some are excellent writers, authoring poems published as third graders or scripting a liturgical dance. Some have experienced learning subjects with above-grade-level peers, all the while they had a smile on their faces. Some are adept at stage and song. Some are great at helping others and at giving of themselves. It is truly an impressive group. So, while there will be moments lost in the collective near future, their individual futures remain so blindingly bright. In my eyes, the HHS Class of 2020 will forever remain a uniquely talented group with a brilliant future.