Seniors return to school after a year online

Seniors complete their work after their return to in-person learning.

Abby Hyken

Seniors complete their work after their return to in-person learning.

Abby Hyken

After a year and a half online, Midtown students are back in the classroom. With a name change from Grady and a new building to relieve crowding, the school has changed.

Everyone has been affected by Covid-19, especially the graduating Class of 2022, which missed half of its sophomore year and all of its junior year. Seniors only have a few months before they graduate, leaving soon after the return to in-person school. 

“I just want the time back,” senior Teddy Suazo said. “We missed a full year of school and the content wasn’t as in-depth as it would have been in the classroom. Coming back to school, I was nervous to see how difficult my classes were and what the rules about Covid would be.”

Students were apprehensive about the return to school after not seeing their classmates or experiencing a typical school day for more than a year. 

“I was really excited to go back to school because I haven’t seen most of the people in my grade in a long time,” senior Emmy Friedman said. “But the first day felt very overwhelming. It felt like I had to start all over again, and I was nervous to see everyone.” 

Suazo said seeing friends was one of the best parts of school.  

“I was really glad to see my friends and people that I hadn’t seen in a long time,” Suazo said. “The social aspect of school came to a sudden end when we went online, and I missed hanging out with my friends.”

For some seniors, returning to school in person was like starting over. For some, like senior Mahala Summer, this was their first time attending Midtown in person. Summer started at Midtown in September of 2020 when school was fully online, after moving from Tampa, Florida. 

“This is my seventh high school, so I wasn’t really nervous for the first day,” Summer said. “I’m really glad that we get to be in person because it is more interactive and an easier way to make friends. Especially being new, going to school in person is better than online because I wouldn’t have been able to make friends that way.”

Summer said she has enjoyed her first weeks at Midtown. 

“A lot of people are actually very friendly, and it’s a really welcoming environment,” Summer said.

After being separated for so long, the senior class is closer than ever, Friedman said. 

“I feel like our grade as a whole has gotten a lot closer,” Friedman said. “Everyone is a lot nicer now. Before, people were cliquey, but now, people are branching out because everyone is excited to be back.”

For some students virtual school was difficult.

“Online school was very hard for me because I am such an outgoing person,” Friedman said. “It was difficult for me to constantly be by myself and not surrounded by friends like I would be at school. I had to learn to get comfortable being alone.”

Some students said virtual school set them back in their sense of preparation for college.

“I really feel less prepared to graduate after being online for so long,” Summer said. “I feel like I missed out on important parts of high school.” 

Friedman said the college application process is a stressful time.

“Doing anything college-related right now feels very overwhelming,” Friedman said. “I’m most worried about the application process and figuring out what school I want to go to.” 

However, for some seniors, the application process is not their biggest concern. 

“I’m not worried about the application process, it’s nothing I can’t do,” Suazo said. “I’m most worried about having to wait and see if I’m accepted to the colleges I’m going to apply to.”