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HHS junior describes what school is like now

Gracie Milner Gracie Milner

Along with the widespread fear relating to the coronavirus, high school students, and students of all ages, are now working to navigate school work entirely from home.

In order to remain on track for the rest of the year leading into finals, AP exams, and courses following in the next year, it remains urgent to keep up the rigor of a normal classroom day.

As a student at Hendersonville High School, this means keeping up with seven classes all at home. For a student still reliant on student-teacher interaction, what does this all mean? As we all are working to discover the best way to tackle online school, many questions remain unanswered. Teachers worked diligently and effectively over the weekend in order to provide students with the best possible information regarding lesson plans. Many teachers are taking advantage of online programs such as Zoom, a website that provides for a two-way video chat between students and teachers. This allows for discussion of materials to mirror a classroom setting as best as possible. Most students are already very familiar with the program Google Classroom which we have all used often over the past few years. Teachers have also created “Remind” accounts for each classroom which allows students to text them with questions about assignments. Most students do have access to a computer to complete the work, but there are still some students who have no internet access. Teachers have accommodated these needs by providing printed packets of work to those students in need.

However much we have the logistical aspects of the Learn At Home program straightened out, there are still many limiting factors. School is as much an interactive, social experience as it is an educational experience. As a high school student, I find it very important to have the ability to ask my teacher questions about an assignment. Now, however, we do not have comfort in that ability. To complicate matters more, we are still on many deadlines, which means that we must stay on track with all work in order to finish school on time. What’s more, social interaction with friends is something any student needs. As such a unique and unexpected circumstance, we all do not know what to expect for the future. This psychological aspect of uncertainty has my friends and me confused and worried about our futures.

I had plans to study abroad in Granada, Spain, and study Spanish this upcoming summer. Nothing is definitely canceled as of now. However, there is a great worry that this program and many others like it will have to be. The summer before senior year in high school is the time for an aspiring college applicant to expand his or her experiences in order to decide what the best options may be for the future. Something as unique and random as the coronavirus greatly disrupts this plan in a student’s life. Many of my friends were planning to attend North Carolina’s Governor’s School during the summer, which may also be canceled. Not knowing what may happen forces students into even more stress than the typical day- which is already high enough. All SAT dates and testing opportunities have been canceled until June, which also puts a great dent in college preparation plans. It has become increasingly vital to take these standardized tests as much as possible in order to get a high score, yet now the opportunities will be extremely limited. I, along with most other high school juniors, planned to spend my spring break touring many colleges across the country, but now that is virtually impossible. Daily lives are forced to adjust to these unforeseen circumstances and it becomes most important to have an open mind and a positive attitude. There is some comfort in knowing that everyone else at this age is dealing with similar circumstances. High school students are dealing with a brand new type of learning. Ultimately, we are learning independence and the ability to change with the circumstances. As we all decide how to create a positive outlook on this, we must remember that there is still unity despite the uncertainty. As high school students, we remain hopeful that this settles down soon so we can resume our normal as best as possible.

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Gracie Milner, a junior at Hendersonville High School, is a correspondent for the Lightning.