The year was filled with surprises that kept us on our toes, awake at night, stressed, yet still hopeful. We’ve come together in so many ways, celebrating birthdays and graduations through our cars, sending cards and videos to the elderly, and … boosting pajama companies’ sales. Most of all, we’ve learned to appreciate everything we have rather than ask for everything we want.
With 2020 came unique experiences. Our day-to-day activities came to a halt, but learning continued. The start of the new school year brought about new models of school, most importantly, the completely online Brave Virtual Academy (BVA).
While it was difficult to get accustomed to online learning, teachers have done a great job making students feel comfortable and welcomed. As Megh Gauthum (‘24) expressed, “…after a couple of weeks at home, I started missing my friends, my teachers, riding the bus and being in school in general…” but his teachers “gave clear instructions and helped understand concepts.” Gauthum, being a BVA student, has made unique memories despite being socially isolated. He says that besides playing games and spending quality time with his family, he also, “learned to cook [his] favorite pasta and salad.”
This year definitely hasn’t been easy for students, and it certainly hasn’t for teachers either. They too had to adapt to the different plans our school has been on, changing their lesson plans every week to accommodate children going online, coming to school, or switching between the two models. It is with collective agreement that I can say we appreciate our teachers and school staff more this year as they tread these rough waters with us.
Quarantine allowed us to spend time with family, perhaps more than we have ever before. From the now historic “Friday, March 13” through August, we were stuck at home, and a newfound appreciation for travel and visiting family arose. It made family gatherings more special and as Eva Varshney (‘31) recalls, “being with [her] dad” and “[celebrating] Father’s Day with him” was a new memory that she made. Though not ideal, these little memories will definitely last a lifetime.
Most importantly though, 2020 taught us to keep our friends and family close to our hearts. We found new ways to connect, through FaceTime calls, virtual greeting cards, and the infamous family “Zoom” gatherings. The pandemic really brought to light how important family and staying safe and healthy are, and I’m sure we’ll never take it for granted again.
Finally, although we were kept in isolation for most of the year, we’ve made many beautiful memories that we may not have otherwise. From youngsters like Megan Sichel (‘28) “roller skating at the park” to older students hosting Netflix parties, connecting with our peers through a screen has become vital. It has also sparked creativity, fueling new projects, passions, and even businesses.
Senior Faye Hardek reflects on quarantine as a time where she “learned how to knit”, creating quite a few hats and scarves as a way to relax. Others spent time developing a passion for art, photography, and baking. Still others blossomed as young entrepreneurs. Eighth graders Laura Kremer and Abby Zender created their own jewelry line, Yeehaw Jewelry, in August, handcrafting products from earrings and bracelets, to school spirit necklaces.
Truly, lockdown has been mentally exhausting, and it hasn’t been easy. But what amazed, and continues to amaze me, is how much we’ve come together as a human race. I believe Will Ford (‘21) sums it up best: “Awkward Zoom meetings and socially distant hikes. Thanksgiving over FaceTime and shortened AP exams. Virtual college interviews and countless family game nights. These times will forever hold a special place in [our] hearts.”
This year, I look at people like a river that meets a boulder, finds another way around it and continues to flow. We as a human race have taken this unexpected boulder of a pandemic and found alternative paths that infuse empathy and compassion into our community so we can combat these times. 2020 was definitely a surprise, but together, we have made the most of it.
Vandita Rastogi is a student journalist from Indian Hill High School. Her features are published here on Loveland Beacon as part of her journalistic efforts sharing the Indian Hill Schools Student Experience.