On March 13, 2020, English Teacher Leticia Harshman asked her high school students to write a “Dear Diary” entry on the one year Anniversary of their school’s closing because of COVID. Here is a selection of thoughts from the students. It is hard to believe the three-year anniversary of the school shutdown is approaching. If you know students who would like to share their experiences over the past three years, please tell them to log into the scholarpractitionernexus.com and add a post.
Dear Diary by Amanda M.
Looking back a year ago, I never would have imagined this is how life would be. When we got the announcement last March that we would be out of school for two weeks I never would have thought it would turn into months. I remember thinking this was something that would just go by and be over after the two weeks. Then hearing that we will not go back to school for the rest of the year, I was shocked. I did not know too much about COVID-19. I never realized how dangerous it was.
After doing school online for a couple weeks, we then went to a full lockdown. Everything was closed, and no one could leave their house other than to go to the grocery store.
Fast forward a year…here we are. It has gotten a little better, because we can leave our houses and go out. School has also opened back up. We still must wear masks everywhere and maintain social distancing. I am curious to see when all of this will be over, and everybody can go back to their normal lives.
COVID-19 has ruined a lot of things for me, I am just hoping it does not ruin my senior year next year.
Dear Diary by Abby M
My sophomore year never turned out to be what I expected. The week leading up to Friday March 13th 2020, students were excited and eager to hopefully hear our principal call an unexpected two weeks of no school. Within the blink of an eye, it was all gone. March 13th 2020 and coronavirus was all anyone could talk about. Schools across the country were getting shut down, and people were in lockdown, little did we know, we soon would be, too.
After getting the announcement after the 11th period on that normal Friday, students were shocked but happy about the break we would get. I remember the “pre-spring weather” in the air that day. It was chilly but nice to know that we could start wearing spring clothes. Walking out of school on that Friday after the announcement, felt like a movie. I remember walking out to the parking lot with my two friends and we were joking about how it could be the last time walking the school halls for a while. Turns out, we were right. Soon just those two short weeks turned into a month followed by another month, and then our whole school year was wiped away.
Looking back, I feel like that spring semester of 2020 was such an unrealistic time that it went too fast to comprehend. I do not think that it was till this current year that we all are looking back at where we were a year ago. The change of our lives. Who would have ever thought that two weeks of “break” would turn into a whole year?
If I could go back in time and tell myself to cherish that last week of “normal” school, I would. I doubt any of us at this time last year could have imagined what life would change into, but here we are. Thinking back to that last week of school is such a blur. I remember joking around with friends in the library; talking about how funny it would be if school closed. Meanwhile, we did not believe it would happen. The little things in life are what we value the most and holding onto those last school memories is something that I will never forget. Even if that last week of school was a blur for me, looking back, I remember how happy we all were. I wish I could just go back and tell myself to take it all in and hold onto those memories because the memories are all we have.
Flash forward to spring semester of my junior year, and I am in shock. That I will be a senior the next time I see everyone at school is crazy to think. Those people I knew my sophomore year have changed and so have I. I think we can all admit that this past year has been a struggle and coming up on the “one year anniversary of COVID-19” makes times feel even crazier.
Dear Diary by Hayden C.
It is unbelievable to think that one year ago we were getting the announcement that we would be out for two weeks. We all know how that turned out. Two weeks turned into a month; then a month turned into the end of the school year. Then this year came around and so many adaptations had to and still must be made.
I cannot tell whether this whole experience feels longer or shorter than a year. It feels like just yesterday I was in the middle school. My family and many other families around the world have been torn apart by this virus. People, including myself have lost loved ones and those that we care deeply about. Over one year, over 500,000 lives have been lost due to the virus. This number is awful and cannot be forgotten.
As the vaccine has started to roll out, we have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that is unfortunately still a long way away. Our learning has been affected greatly throughout this whole year and everything has been thrown off track. I feel especially bad for the classes of 2020 and 2021 and what they had and still must go through. Usually, graduation is a time of celebration and happiness that signifies you are moving on to a new stage in your life.
Dear Diary by Allie K
On March 13, 2020, all day I was waiting to hear that announcement come through the PA system. All anyone could talk about that Friday was the future of this virus and what would be in store for the rest of the year. I can say confidently that no one knew COVID-19 would progress into a worldwide, statewide, and countywide issue. We were all skeptics. Everyone acted and pretended to know what was going to happen, but in reality, no one could have foreseen those crazy events after that day.
I remember being in my English class, watching and reading August Wilson’s Fences, while both my teachers at the time were reassuring us that we would, in fact, be back in class on Monday. Spoiler alert; we were not. I was laughing knowing it would not be the case and thinking we would be out of school for at least two weeks. Spoiler alert; wrong again. Then my last period of the day came. I was in my Social Studies class in the library, wishing that school would be cancelled so that I would not have to take the SATs that Saturday morning. Time flew by and our principal’s voice came through the loudspeaker announcing that we were going to have two weeks off school. I was relieved and was already planning my vacation. But then a week went by. No im-person school until April. Then April came, and the district planned to go back in May. Then May came and there was no in-person school for the rest of the year.
Dear Diary by Emma K
I can still remember the day our principal came on the announcements and told us we were getting two weeks off. I was in metalcraft class, finishing up my earring project. There was a lot of speculation about whether school would shut down for two weeks and the only thing I felt then was excitement about a two week break.
I wish I could go back and tell myself to enjoy that last day of normal life. I wore a gray dress to school that day because I thought it would be the last time I would see my classmates for a while. Looking back, I have mixed feelings about wearing that dress. It felt almost like an omen that I would not go back to school and that was my “last day” outfit.
After spending a year in isolation and online school, I find myself romanticizing that first lockdown. It really felt like we were all experiencing COVID-19 together and the time we spent at home was time to catch up on sleep and work on our mental health. I was so happy during that time and as it led into summer because I did not have to worry about school or work or grades. I went on walks every day and read books and made whipped coffee because it was a trend on Tok-tok. I do not think I had ever been in a better mental state than I was during those months, despite the horrible state of the world around me.
Nearly a year later, and my mental health has never been in a worse state. A full year of staying home and online school has been the most exhausting and mentally draining experience. School is the one place where I am reminded of what life used to be like, and it makes me feel lonelier than I ever was while stuck at home. As a junior, the expectations of getting good grades to get into a good college have been stifling, especially since learning and school has become so difficult for me.
I often find myself saying that if I can just make it to spring, the good vibes and freedom that I felt during
that time will return. Which is crazy because that was a time when the whole world was struggling. As we near the anniversary date of the last day of normal life, I hope that the new version of myself I have grown into can find the same happiness that I felt around this time last year.