Sebastian Lucumi – Staff writer
With Covid-19 quarantine in full effect, many events students looked forward to are now cancelled or postponed. However, with all the surplus time granted, students are finding creative ways to entertain themselves in these times of uncertainty.
Since prom is cancelled, you’d think many seniors would be disappointed, and while some are, senior and captain of the JROTC prom sabre team, Vince Colera is actually glad that he doesn’t have to worry about the hassle.
“I’m feeling good about [prom being cancelled],” Colera said, “I don’t have to pay a lot of money and set up a saber guard. I’m not much for parties and loud music either.”
Although the virus postponed a doctor’s appointment for the second time, Colera likes that his school work has gotten much easier since quarantine.
“[I feel] good! I’m so much closer to the end of the year and all my class work is so much easier. I don’t have to go to any meetings or walk around in the halls. I might not even have to go to graduation, I can just be done,” Colera said. “I’ve been working out and reading a lot more than I could have if I were in school. And sleeping eight hours every night!”
Colera’s siblings are unemployed and are thus staying home, while his mother is able to work from home.
“I appreciate the response of keeping everyone home and applaud them for getting everything set up as quickly as they did. I’m very glad they didn’t try to keep us in school, because it would have been a breeding ground for the virus,” Colera said.
Most are still able to communicate through Zoom, Google Duo, Skype, and Facetime, where we can unite our frustrations and deliver some closure.
“Well [my girlfriend] has definitely made it livable, because I’m able to hangout and see her often; she keeps me sane,” Colera said.
Similarly, junior Antonio Barboza has been spending his free time doing as he wants with the extra time.
“I play video games, throw a football around with my family, watch movies or tv shows, workout, or just cook,” Barboza said.
As an upperclassman like Colera, Barboza is using the easy course work to try and boost his GPA.
“Well school wise, I kinda hoped to use the last quarter to boost my GPA a little bit,” Barboza said. “and I guess that’s working out. The work is much easier to do and doesn’t take as long to finish. Me and along with a lot of other people in JROTC are bummed that team competitions were cancelled but it is what it is. It does suck that I can’t physically be with all my friends and that’s why we have to use stuff like FaceTime or other apps like that.”
Barboza is on the JROTC armed-drill team, who were about to travel to Richmond, Virginia for a large competition that got cancelled due to the virus.
“It is what it is,” Barboza said. “No one can blame anyone for all of it getting cancelled. It’s better to cancel everything than risk getting a whole lot more people infected. Especially the events that involve going out of state or the city into other cities. I get a lot of people frustrated because I definitely am. But it is what it is. I guess we’ll all most likely have to wait for next year.”
Sophomore Altynai Kanat, has been spending her time rediscovering old passions that she hasn’t had the time for because of the monotony of school.
“I caught up on my old hobbies like writing. I spend time with my family. I also started drawing. I workout to keep my fitness for the summer and next year. And my sleep schedule is messed up because I binge watch shows at night,” Kanat said.
Kanat, who is also on the JROTC armed-drill team, is likewise disappointed at the cancellation of other JROTC competitions for other teams.
“[Our team] worked really hard to go to Virginia this whole year and we were really excited to go but unfortunately it got canceled. Some seniors never got to experience it. Last Urban Raider [JROTC competition] got cancelled. I wanted to make the last one as good as possible. Alpha Warrior got cancelled [too]. I wanted some seniors to participate who didn’t have the chance last year. I also wanted people who already experienced it to compete to see progress and just to have fun in general. I’m upset that all the events got cancelled but there’s always a next time for me,” Kanat said.
However, Kanat agrees with both Colera and Barboza, on the necessity of the cancellations.
“It’s for the best and for everyone’s safety,” Kanat said, “People need to stay home just to be safe. The longer we keep going out and not staying in quarantine, the longer it will take for the virus to stop meaning we’ll stay like this for a while. Think of this as time for yourself and your family.”
Likewise, Kanat has found more time to spend growing closer with her family as Colera and Barboza have
“I think it challenged me because I’m usually never at home because of practices and school in general,” Kanat said,“It’s hard to always be at home but I like it. I get a break from everything. I also get to take care of myself a lot which I forgot to do. I have a lot of time for myself and the things I wanna do. It challenged my family because we cook a lot, meaning we always need to go grocery shopping. Now we’re limited to the amount of food we buy which makes it harder for us to plan what our next meal will be. I like distance learning because I get to work at my own pace.”
However, in the heart of the Covid-19 experience, Kanat, Barboza, and Colera expect both local and national change to sweep through. Kanat sees small, local, in-school changes to be a lesson moving forward.
“I think [people] will be more serious about washing hands and just hygiene in general. I think there will be more teachers enforcing hand sanitizing and small things like that,” Kanat said.
Colera thinks that school should invest more into contingencies in case of something similar happening again.
“Hmm I think things have definitely changed, perhaps for the long term. Schools might be more inclined to have better prepared distance learning, governments will try to be better prepared as well, and generation’s thoughts on things like money and how the world works,” Colera said.
Most relevant to our contemporary situation however, we must remember, as Barboza points out, that we need to work with and be thankful for all the school has done so far.
“I think the school is doing pretty good to keep the academic side of school up and running while we’re all in quarantine. Obviously they don’t exactly know the near future of the school year or even next year but honestly, no one does. Hopefully all the parents and students are making sure they get all the info for getting the academic stuff done while the school is basically improvising,” Barboza said.
However, in the totality of Covid-19’s effect on students, it’s important to remember that it’s all in our minds. The thought of missing the high school experience is of your creation; the best thing we can do now, as Colera suggests, is to try to move on with strength and dignity.
“High school is a very small part of your life in total, there is no use in being sad about things that aren’t in your control; so do something that is and better yourself,” Colera said.