by Drew C. Smith and Jeremiah Edwards/Staff Writers
Initial Reflections from the Writers:
Drew C. Smith – There was a rush of excitement when I first learned that we would be out of school an additional week following spring break. Of course, that additional week turned into a sprawling two months of uncertainty and restlessness that felt like it would turn into an eternity of Google Meets and nights spent up until the early hours of the next day. Was it fun to be out of school for essentially four-and-a-half months? It was fun in the same way that dessert is fun; every once in a while, I like to have dessert after dinner, but I do not want dessert for every meal. This fourth quarter has been my first full fourth quarter of my high school career; in my freshman year, I of course spent the entirety of my fourth quarter at home due to COVID-19, and my sophomore year, I broke my leg three weeks into the quarter and once again spent the rest of the fourth quarter at home. It’s nice to be back and in for my first full year of school. Socially, I’ve been way more engaged and it’s just nice to be able to actually reach the conclusion of a full school year, which I have not felt since eighth grade. And, knocking on wood, hopefully my senior year will be entirely uninterrupted.
Jeremiah Edwards – To be honest, not going back to school after spring break made it feel like an extended summer, I really enjoyed that at the time. Though once school started, I was not ready at all. My love for school turned into dread and irritation. My sleeping schedule was so unhealthy to the point where I had no motivation to go to school. Of course, once the hybrid schedule was established it made things easier but I quickly learned that it was not beneficial to academic success. I’m glad things are returning to normal and that this fourth quarter has been my first full fourth quarter. I feel like I missed out on growing socially due to not having a full, normal, not virtual-driven school year. I’ve always felt that the fourth quarter is the best time of the year. That’s when my relationships with my peers have flourished and when I’m able to be the most engaged in my academics. Being able to finish out the school year normally has prevented me from losing connections that I value. I believe my senior year will be the absolute best year and I’ll be able to enjoy school the way I used to and experience things I’ve always wanted to.
High school can be argued as being some of the most exciting or some of the most important years of one’s life. Though for students currently in high school, the past couple of years have been dreadful. How does the Class of 2023, at Greenfield Central High School, feel about their high school experience, so far, and how do they feel about their future at G-CHS? We (Drew and Jeremiah) sought to find this out and get direct answers from juniors, soon-to-be seniors, on this topic. We sat down with Preston Wise, Paige Rutledge, Michael Runions, Paisley Slunaker, and Cooper Cox to gather their thoughts on the shift into senior year and how they reflect on quarantine.
Q: It has officially been over two years since the school year was cut short by the coronavirus. How do you reflect back on the two years and how has your perspective changed on quarantine?
A (Preston Wise): So, I think it’s weird to reflect on that I haven’t seen, ever since two years, that we went from not seeing anyone for a quarter, to then only seeing half the kids, and to then get everyone back with no masks. Looking back on it, it feels super quick, like we were just on top of it, but at the same time, going through it, it felt like forever. I feel like most of my sophomore year, thinking back on it, half the school was out for my time there.
A (Paige Rutledge): Well, I think it was a lot easier throughout quarantine, mostly because teachers just kind of gave up. And, I don’t think that anyone actually cared, but now that everyone is back, I feel like it’s a little harder to get back on track and do things, cause after so many years of not doing anything, no one cares.
A (Michael Runions): I reflect on the two years as a learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and I had to grow as a person, get out of my comfort zone of being at home. My perspective on quarantine was that it wasn’t too bad. I had a routine and I stuck by it every day. It was easy.
A (Paisley Slunaker): My perspective really hasn’t changed because when it first started, I felt it was boring, and I still feel it was boring.
A (Cooper Cox): During my freshman year, during fourth quarter in quarantine I really had no idea what to do when it came to online school. And I think most of us didn’t either; it was just too much to keep track of. So, I think the school handled it well when it came to grades. And, during our sophomore year when we had hybrid, I know it helped a lot to reduce the amount of COVID cases, but on the other hand lots of people were struggling mentally because of the isolation. So, in that regard I’m glad we’re fully back.
Q: This is your first fully in-school fourth quarter, and it’s happening as a junior. How do you feel about that?
A (Preston Wise): It feels weird. I mean, like freshman year, there wasn’t much I missed out on because for freshman you don’t go to prom, obviously you’re not graduating. I don’t feel like I missed out on much, other than that transition into being a sophomore. I feel like with this year, especially though, it’s going to hit me that I’m going to be a senior.
A (Paige Rutledge): It’s really stressful actually. I have a final in every single class and it’s kind of just cramming all of the information in the last three weeks. It’s very stressful.
A (Michael Runions): It’s good to see progress and to know that things are continuing to become normal again.
A (Paisley Slunaker): I feel I have missed out on a lot of activities and what high school is really about, the social part, spending time with people.
A (Cooper Cox): I don’t really mind that this is the first time we’re getting a full end of the year, as juniors, I’m just glad that this school year has felt mostly normal. There’s no doubt it’s not a normal high school year, and I think that I did miss out on quite a lot. But there’s no way I can get that back, so I move on. I loaded my senior year with classes so I really do hope we can stay in person, because it’s much harder to focus outside of school.
Q: Do you feel that you have missed out on the full high school experience? Do you feel like you have been cheated out of valuable time with friends and classmates?
A (Preston Wise): Like I said, before, I feel like I didn’t miss out on much freshman year. Sophomore year they didn’t have homecoming or prom, so I do feel like I missed out on homecoming. But yeah, only seeing the kids on one half of the alphabet, it was tough having friends on the other half, because I didn’t get to spend time with them and sort of drifted away.
A (Paige Rutledge): I mean, a little bit. Since I’m in theater, we usually have traditions where we go out and hang, but for like the past two years- this is the first year we could actually go out and be with each other, to get that “high school experience.”
A (Michael Runions): I feel like I haven’t missed out on the full high school experience. I’ve spent a lot of time with classmates and friends, even with all of the restrictions.
A (Paisley Slunaker): Yes, kinda.
Q: How do you feel about senior year, now that, hopefully, it will not be complicated by COVID-19 restrictions?
A (Preston Wise): I feel pretty good about it. I feel like it will be a pretty solid ending to my high school career. Everyone’s back, I feel like it will be like a normal high school experience.
A (Paige Rutledge): Actually, I feel a little bit better about it, my senior year should be pretty breezy, cause I got nothing to really do, just two more classes. If everything goes well, minus the COVID, I think it should be fine.
A (Michael Runions): I feel that my senior year is gonna be the best one. I’m happy to have a full year without any issues with COVID-19. It’s gonna be a fun last year.
A (Paisley Slunaker): I think it will be fully packed with as much stuff as I can do, cause I did not get much in the previous years.
Q: Finally, what advice would you give to the underclassmen and students coming into the high school? Would you encourage them to enjoy their time in the school or would you tell them something else?
A (Preston Wise): Don’t be stupid, enjoy your time here, but don’t be reckless and ignorant. Just respect the rules and have fun.
A (Paige Rutledge): I would tell them please don’t be annoying. I don’t mean it in a mean way, but if you want people to respect you, don’t start out by being annoying. Just be with your friends and have your fun, but just don’t be annoying.
A (Michael Runions): Underclassmen: have fun and enjoy every day, because you never know if you’ll be taken out for a very long time. Enjoy your time in school and outside of school like at football games, events, or dances.
A (Paisley Slunaker): I would say do as much as you can to get involved and join clubs, get active.
A (Cooper Cox): I would suggest joining a club or sport after school. They really help when it comes to building relationships with people and I regret not doing it.
The Class of 2023 experienced a not-so-normal high school life, facing challenges like quarantine, hybrid schedules, and masks. It seems, for now, they have high hopes and a positive outlook for their senior year after facing an obstacle along the way. They certainly have much more gratitude, now, for being in person at school. We (again, Drew and Jeremiah) are optimistic about the future and look forward to a (knock on wood) normal senior year.