Sophomores adapt to in-person learning


Shira Lobron

Starting high school is difficult for any freshman. They are thrown into a huge building with unfamiliar faces and higher expectations—an overwhelming experience for any 14 or 15-year-old. Putting  a pandemic on top of that presented a variety of barriers, added stress, and a loss of potential opportunities and connections.

The Class of 2024 persisted through a highly unusual freshman experience, but how have they adapted, as sophomores, to learning in a full building, partaking in high school rituals, and meeting higher expectations?

The workload for all students was decreased last year in an effort to minimize student stress during a difficult time. As a result, many sophomores were not expecting the larger workload they are now receiving.

“Last year we didn’t get as much homework, and I feel like it’s been a big increase because we haven’t ever experienced actual high school homework,” said sophomore Samantha Kaplan.

Safe and rich opportunities to connect with peers outside of school activities other than homework was especially difficult last year. Instead of being able to walk into a club meeting, students needed to seek out officers and Zoom links in order to participate.

Unlike other grades, the former freshmen were unable to use past connections to extracurriculars to rejoin. Instead, they relied on virtual SET day where club officer’s would host Zoom meetings for returning and prospective members. Luckily, this year there have been many in-person opportunities to connect with new clubs, sports, or Theatre Ink shows. 

One introduction to new opportunities was Theatre Ink’s Open House. Different productions presented a description of their show and the many roles students could play in them. 

Sophomore Shalev Moser said, “I thought it was a great intro to theater especially because most of last year was COVID-filled. It was a great time and I learned a lot about all the different opportunities and everyone else who attended I think did, too.”

While many high school traditions were put on hold to promote safety last year, former freshmen who were previously unable to partake in any of the rituals have since taken full advantage of them.

One example of this is spirit days for sports. “I think it is really fun because you get to see the rest of your teammates dress up and it’s a fun way to celebrate before a game,” Said sophomore  Erica Yasuhara, who participates in cheerleading.

Open campus privileges for all students to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission carried over from last year for sophomores, a right not usually achieved until their second semester for students in academic standing.

“I like being able to go off campus because it gives me more freedom and it makes us be able to eat outside,” said sophomore Mia Diana.

Even though they missed key parts of their high school experience, the Class of 2024 persevered through a demanding year and gained wisdom, a new appreciation for in-person learning, and new privileges.

According to sophomore Noah Kesselman , “The return to in person learning has made it easier to get to know the students in my classes and make better connections with my teachers.”