Follow-Up Interview: How Were Students From Each Grade Affected by COVID-19?

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For up-to-date information about the Pennsylvania reopening phases, visit: https://www.governor.pa.gov/process-to-reopen-pennsylvania/.

Rachel Plasky, Staff

 
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It has been almost 3 months since students all across the country have physically been in a school. Many had not been anticipating the duration of the school year to be conducted from home, but this unprecedented time has come to impart more than just the academic kind of learning. Here at Haverford High School, administrators, educators, and students have all come together to navigate these uncharted waters. The Fordian circled back with four students who had shared their experience in March to reflect on the school year’s final trimester.

 

Freshman Abby Baron

1. What was it like to be a freshman during this extraordinary time?

Being a freshman during this time was a bit shocking because it was my first year, and I didn’t really get to live it to its fullest. I missed out on a lot of things. I missed out on the Virginia Beach band trip, and the spring show was canceled; Jazz Lab was supposed to perform at the 76ers game, and that was canceled. So, I think that with all of that happening at once, it was very upsetting.

2. Was remote learning difficult for you or did it actually play to your strengths?

The online learning was so difficult for me. I had to teach myself so much, and that confused me a lot. Also, I had to help my older brother with his geometry because we both were taking the class at the same time.

3. What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

Seeing my friends again. I have missed them all so much. I consider my friends a second family, and I would talk to them every single day at school. Not being able to see them every day is kicking me in the butt because all I want to do is give them a big hug.

4. How were you able to socialize while still physically distancing?

FaceTiming my family and friends. My grandparents and I would have dinner over Zoom a lot. It makes me feel a little bit better, but it is still not the same as seeing them in person. Also, I would have ball catches outside 8-feet-apart with friends that live nearby. 

5. What is something that you got to do that you wouldn’t have done if not for quarantine?

Teach my brother geometry. My brother and I are both taking geometry right now. I am in honors, and he is in academic, so when he was having trouble, I would help by explaining to him what he needed to do. I have thought about being a teacher when I grow up, so this is giving me a chance to see what it is like. Plus, it helps my brother because I can teach him in a way that he can understand better than videos.

 

Sophomore Zach Graaf

1. What was it like to be a sophomore during this extraordinary time?

These past few months are definitely something that I will remember as an adult. I think growing up through this is very interesting as my future children will be learning about this one day knowing I grew up through it.

2. Was remote learning difficult for you or did it actually play to your strengths?

I think remote learning was a mixed bag of good and bad. For some classes, I was able to work independently and at my own pace, allowing me to complete work in time frames that were beneficial for me. It also allowed me to spend extra time on material I struggled with. However, for some classes, such as world languages and music, an in-class experience is needed to fully comprehend the material, so there were a few classes that distance learning made very challenging.

3. What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

Just being able to see everyone again. I think this whole experience has taught me to never take the social aspect of school or any activity for granted ever again. I’m excited to be able to reconnect with people that I wouldn’t normally talk to outside of school and return to a normal routine.

4. How were you able to socialize while still physically distancing?

Personally, I think the quarantine gave me more time to be social than before. Since we didn’t have “homework,” I was able to spend more time with friends on FaceTime or social media. I also found ways to see people in person while still socially distancing, by working out together, running, or going on bike rides. I think that the more I got used to the idea of it, the easier it became.

5. What is something that you got to do that you wouldn’t have done if not for quarantine?

Quarantine has really allowed me to explore Havertown a lot more than I would have. I’ve been doing a lot of walking, biking, and running to stay busy and healthy, and it’s allowed me to go to places I would never have gone to before. When the Merion Golf Club was closed, I was able to walk on the course at night, bike up into the neighborhoods off of Ardmore Avenue, and have some really nice adventures throughout Havertown. I think this quarantine has allowed me to stop and look around at the great things we have so close to us and appreciate them for what they are.

 

Junior Nadia Awad

1. What was it like to be a junior during this extraordinary time?

Like I said last time, it’s not too bad to be a junior right now. While I missed out on a lot with my activities, the main thing I’m upset about is that some of my favorite humans are graduating this year, and I didn’t get as much time in school with them as I thought I would. I really feel for all of the seniors.

2. Was remote learning difficult for you or did it actually play to your strengths?

Both. I personally think I was able to learn history better, but I know I missed out on a lot with my other classes, especially AP Language & Composition and Physics. It was nice to have the learning expectations laid out so clearly, though; I found that helpful.

3. What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

I’m excited for next year’s Science Olympiad, but, honestly, I’m mostly not looking forward to it. I, of course, want to reconnect with all of my friends and teachers, but I’m just really looking forward to college and the next thing. Short-term, I’m looking forward to quarantine being over.

4. How were you able to socialize while still physically distancing?

I was actually able to do a lot. I had a friend come over and sit with me in my front lawn almost every day. I did AP Language & Composition homework with another friend in her backyard. I went to Rita’s and Sippy’s with a group of friends. I did group calls with my Dungeons and Dragon group. I also kept in touch in a variety of ways with my phone.

5. What is something that you got to do that you wouldn’t have done if not for quarantine?

I wouldn’t have been able to practice guitar as much. Also, I’m going to be taking a couple of classes through the Harvard Summer School which is definitely something I wouldn’t have pursued otherwise.

 

Senior Tommy Barnes

1. What was it like to be a senior during this extraordinary time?

To be a senior in the class of 2020 during this quarantine has truly been a remarkable time. For me personally, this quarantine has forced me to confront what I like and dislike about working independently. I realized that although I can still get things done, a lot of my drive and energy to do things efficiently and correctly comes from being around other people. Oddly enough, in order to remain focused I need to be checked-in on, and I need to check-in with others to discuss plans, engage in interesting conversation, and remain accountable for my work. However, it has been nice to structure my day entirely how I want to, and I will definitely miss all the various amenities I have granted myself during this quarantine.

2. Was remote learning difficult for you or did it actually play to your strengths?

Remote learning was definitely not difficult; however, remaining motivated to get the work done was extremely difficult. During the first few weeks, I had a great schedule down, and I took a lot of time to complete all of my work. However, as time went on, senioritis definitely hit, and I only really focused on the things that were important and interesting. Luckily, all the teachers I had did a great job with their lesson plans and remained flexible with the assignments/deadlines that they gave out. I will say, I wish that teachers allowed more creativity with their lesson plans and allowed us to take all the time we had alone to learn and write about the things that actually interest us (DEFINITELY not Shakespeare!).

3. What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

Now that school is over, I am being forced to plan and prepare for my collegiate endeavors next year at the University of Pittsburgh. I am extremely excited to move across the state and begin a new chapter in my life. I feel like I have been preparing for my post-secondary lifestyle since my sophomore year, so, although slightly terrified, I am definitely more excited than nervous to begin college. The thing that I am most looking forward to is leaving Havertown and experiencing a completely new social environment. I am definitely ready to pop the Delco-bubble and meet new people, discover new cultures, and experience life beyond Cenzo’s and Sampan!

4. How were you able to socialize while still physically distancing?

For the first two months of quarantine, I truly did not interact with anybody other than my family. Although I missed friends and other people, it was nice to sort of isolate, focus on myself for a while, and catch up on a lot of personal “to-do” list items that I have been wanting to do all year. Going from extremely social to exclusively anti-social was a surprisingly beautiful shift, which birthed a lot of new attitudes and brought security to the feeling that I can be independent and happy at the same time. However, in the past few weeks, I have begun gathering again with friends in local parks, backyards, and porches which has ushered in a tidal wave of happiness and glee that I have desperately needed. I have also returned to work, where I am pretty close with my coworkers, so that has been a nice social rebound.

5. What is something that you got to do that you wouldn’t have done if not for quarantine?

Because of quarantine, there have been many things that I have finally been able to do, including walking, playing more piano, reading, podcasting, knitting, writing, and watching a ton of TV and movies. Something HHS and other schools should consider going forward is limiting the amount of homework given to students. COVID-19 has granted ease to all of our workloads and has allowed more time for me to pursue my interests and further my learning in areas that I am interested in. It makes me think that if Haverford could ease up on homework assignments, students would have more time to develop their identities by exploring things that pique their interest. Whether Haverford, Pitt, or future work allows or doesn’t allow personal time, I will definitely have to make it for myself because without stressing about a million assignments and responsibilities, I have become much happier and involved in my interests!

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Once again, you are encouraged to share your experience in this article’s comment section or Instagram post. Congratulations and good luck to all of the seniors! We are all hoping for a fall a little bit more like the “old normal.”

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