2020: Finally Coming to an End


Despite the challenges we all may have faced this year, many of us turned them into positives. West High ASB adapted to the virtual platform and held online rallies in order to maintain school spirit. Photo courtesy of West High ASB.

Shrutika Ezhil, Staff Writer

   If there was one thing that Mrs. Kim, who teaches fine arts, remembered about this year, it was the pandemic and the “chaotic elections.” Many of us can relate to this; the majority of 2020 was filled with coverage of COVID-19 and politics. But what else happened this year? 

   2020 came with its fair share of challenges. For freshman Hridhya Sukumaran (9), her biggest challenge was the transition from middle school to high school: “Joining high school as a freshman was really hard for me, especially through online learning, as I had to get used to the new norms and virtual environment in general.” Mr. Cheung, an English teacher at West, understood that both teachers and students struggled due to online learning: “Not being in person to interact with each other has negatively impacted all of our well-being. Socially, I feel terrible for the students who are missing out on sporting events, dances, clubs, etc. Teachers, too, are missing out on face-to-face interactions with students and socially hanging out with other teachers.” 

   Outside of online learning, students also struggled with adapting their extracurriculars. Morgan Payne (9), a member of West’s Color Guard team, explained that “being in Color Guard during this time has been hard; it;s challenging learning new things over Zoom and only getting to work on them with my teammates and the coaches for an hour.”

   And for some, COVID-19 affected them more personally, beyond transitioning from in-person interaction to Zoom screens. For some, climbing coronavirus statistics became a tragic reality of their own. Mrs. Kim expressed the toll that her grandmother’s passing took on her: “It was really hard just seeing our family go through it and trying to understand how hard it is for everyone else.” 

   In 2020, many of us went through unprecedented tragedies. However, these challenges may have forced us to see other positives. For example, more students felt that they had time for themselves. Sukumaran picked up painting, skateboarding, and crocheting, things that she “used to despise.”

   Both Mr. Cheung and Mrs. Kim learned new things as teachers during this time. Mrs. Kim learned how to make an effective art class online, and Mr. Cheung explained, “Since time with students has been cut down (from about 5 hrs a week to 2.5 roughly) we’ve had to ask ourselves what is really important… I’ve cut down significantly on things that I’d normally do in a non-COVID school year. While I miss some of the curriculum, I’ve also been able to narrow each down down to a single skill/lesson such that if a student can walk away with that one thing, they’ll have gotten better at their craft. Personally, I think it will influence classroom instruction for me for when we return.” 

   Many students and teachers also learned to appreciate the smaller things that coronavirus restrictions abruptly took away. Kaitlyn Bennett (11) expressed, “I never imagined I would be starting my junior year of high school in front of my old laptop a few feet away from my bed… Continuing Advanced Dance in a carpeted bedroom presented a couple of problems and revealed how much I took for granted. I took that dance room, the everyday classes, and even the practices after school, for granted…This year opened my eyes to see how much I took for granted. [It showed me] how the little things in life that I thought would always be there could disappear in a matter of days.”

   At West High, students have continued to strive for a better school year. Online rallies and performances maintained school spirit among students and teachers. Sports teams adapted practices to social distancing guidelines in order to ensure safety. And teachers have continued to put in hard work to help educate their students. Bennett, Sukumaran, and Payne all expressed gratitude for their teachers. Bennett said, “The teachers of West High deserve recognition for all of their hard work and dedication. Their countless hours preparing for the unknown of virtual learning and in a miraculous way still being able to support their students through this pandemic… I just want to say thank you!” 

   2020 has been a rough year, but many West High students and teachers were able to look past those challenges and create treasured memories. And with a vaccine for COVID-19 slowly starting to be distributed, the year could end on a positive note. Kudos to 2020 for what a roller coaster it’s sent us on, but we sure are glad it’s over.