Prime years of high school spent virtually

Freshmen and seniors weigh in on spending such memorable school years digitally.

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Londyn Milburn

Olivia Galvan, senior class president, is optimistic for her senior year despite online learning.

For freshmen at Granite Bay High School, this school year was supposed to mark the exciting transition from middle school to high school.  Seniors at GBHS also looked forward to their last year as their final opportunity to grow and mature as high school students and spend valuable time with their friends.  

What both classes could not foresee, however, was experiencing these momentous years virtually.

Normally, GBHS freshmen and seniors would have countless opportunities to seek guidance during these crucial parts of their high school career. This year, the coronavirus posed a major roadblock. 

With over 6 million cases in the US and over 700 thousand cases in California alone, the coronavirus pandemic drove Placer County into a months-long lockdown and halted the economy. Although many in the area are returning to some sense of normalcy, education has gone virtual.

GBHS freshmen and seniors shared their perspectives on the matter.

Freshmen are reasonably unsure of what they are missing as they have never had the opportunity to experience high school in person.  

“As a freshman, I come slightly blindsided because I don’t know what the high school experience is so I don’t know what to expect,” freshman Soraya Johnson said.

Fellow freshmen Courtney Franz and Jennifer Li responded similarly. 

Franz reflected about the possibility of returning back to school, worrying over the impact her lack of an in-person high school experience will have on her preparedness.

It’s hard for everybody but mentally it’s harder for seniors…senior year is such a big year (with) no time to get back…in other grades you have other opportunities.”

— Olivia Galvan

“I don’t know what to expect,¨ Franz said.“I’m starting high school all over again underprepared.” She humorously added, “I don’t even know where the bathrooms are.”

Despite their complaints, all three freshmen came to the consensus that the situation was not as unfortunate as they had expected it to be at the beginning of the school year.

“(It’s) not as bad as I thought,” Franz said, “…I have less homework…Once I got past the first week of school, I had less zoom problems. I’m getting used to it.” 

Seniors were also optimistic for the future, but still felt they were hit harder by the situation. 

Senior class president, Olivia Galvan said, “It’s hard for everybody but mentally it’s harder for seniors…senior year is such a big year (with) no time to get back…in other grades you have other opportunities.”

Galvan also said that as senior class president, she’s been busy salvaging what’s left of plans for senior events. She said she and the Student Government class were the first to get the class of 2021 shirts out to seniors. Their most current project is painting parking spots and planning other virtual events. 

Associated student body president (ASB) Tyler Zavala added, “Although we’re not going back to school normally and having normal events, it’s important that we stay safe and healthy because at the end of the day you do matter and you are worthy.”

In spite of the situation, both the freshmen and seniors stayed positive by keeping in touch with friends and using social media.  Many have also used this time for self-reflection and appreciating the little things in life.

When asked to give fellow seniors and freshmen advice, they all responded optimistically, encouraging each other to make the most out of their circumstances and stay hopeful.

To freshmen, Li said, “Don’t be too sad we still have three more years to go.¨

To seniors, senior advisor Deserie Milburn offered some comforting words. 

“Just be positive…we haven’t forgotten about (you guys), (and) we’re still making this year special.”

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