The past academic year has been anything but normal. From remote learning to canceled school activities, students and teachers had to overcome plenty of obstacles.
PHOENIX — The 2020 to 2021 school year was unlike any other because of the coronavirus pandemic. It forced students to learn and teachers to instruct in ways they’ve never had to before. It was an experience that forever changed the lives of students, teachers and parents.
As the Class of 2021 school year comes to a close, we took a look back at what this past year has meant to students, teachers and school officials. There’s no doubt the pandemic took a toll on high school seniors, who missed out on so many irreplaceable moments like prom, homecoming, sports and college tours. We sat down with a group of seniors to find out how they felt and how this year made them stronger.
“I would say it’s more of like a tragic kind of based event. Because not like all of us think it really experienced what all seniors really had to do, said Anthony Ament. “We miss out on a lot of things that we will never ever really get to experience over.”
“There’s definitely a bunch of moments where I’d be sitting there in class on my computer. And it’s just like, I have no motivation to do any of it,” said Dante Haynesworth.
“Mentally, I think I gained a stronger sense of compassion. Because you know, you kind of get in your own little world and really worry about what’s going on with you,” said Elyse Mielke. And then you get a broader sense of everybody’s going through something I’d say I came out mentally stronger, physically stronger.”
“I know this cliche, but like live every moment that you have to the fullest,” said Mackenzie Barela.
We also sat down to talk with college graduates to see what this past year was like for them.
“I just didn’t feel as engaged in the learning to be honest, like I didn’t feel as into it. When you’re doing zoom, like the distractions, it’s just hard for me to focus at home with like so much going on,” said Caleb Caruso. “But I know there were some cool parts, like I did a lot of road trips, too, and like, did a lot of cool stuff in my free time. So there’s definitely some ups and downs about it.”
“I did miss out on a lot of classes for my program, we did have a class or was like a wine tasting class. And like that I missed out on I really wish I could have done that, or there was a gastronomy class that I was enrolled in,” said Jasmine Landavazo. “And they told me I couldn’t do it anymore, stuff like that. I wish I could have done. But it was nice to have more flexibility so that I could still go to work full time, which I was doing.”
“I had a similar experience. And then I was taking a dance class that I really enjoyed going to and unfortunately, that couldn’t continue on. On the plus side, definitely more time, but also working full time in a co-op,” said Anthony Heath.
“I feel like I also got a lot more time being online. And you can kind of customize your classes a little different since everything was through Zoom, or just online classes at your own pace,” said Jordyn Haynesworth. “So I could structure my work schedule around that better. But then the downside was that you didn’t get to socialize with everyone.”
“I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us crave a sense of community. And so just even going to campus, you know, attending your classes with your friends grabbing lunch, go into coffee shops with them,” said Karryn Baca.
Fortunately, for this group of college seniors, they all have jobs related to their degrees.
Class of 2021 Coverage
This year has certainly changed how we approach education during a pandemic. For more ongoing coverage of the Class of 2021 watch our YouTube playlist and subscribe.