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Dear Me from 2020…

When the last bell of the school day rang on March 12th of 2020, many students were bracing themselves for what everyone believed would be a few funky days. Kids laughed excitedly, and the hallways were filled with maskless hugging as we bid farewell for the long weekend. 

No one could have predicted the turbulent year that was to follow. The long weekend turned into a long spring break, which turned into a prolonged period of social isolation, community and global change, and self-reflection. As we reach the year anniversary of when our lives collectively changed, it is evident that many Hawks have emerged from this period of darkness stronger, more self-aware, and with readjusted priorities.

In this series of interviews, Hawks from each grade reflect on who they were, who they are, and how far they have come since March 12th, 2020. 

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It’s a fact of life that the transition to high school can be turbulent; yet, the transition is rarely paralleled by a global health crisis. A year ago, Tyler Siemens (‘24) was an eighth-grader living a “normal life” attending “normal school.” He would have never been one to guess how truly crazy his first year of high school would be. 

“I was really surprised when the [pandemic] first came… But then, I [figured out how to] deal with it as it came,” he said, reflecting on his coping mechanisms when it came to facing such a pivotal point in his life. “I wouldn’t say I necessarily changed [over quarantine], but I was able to learn how I work [best] when by myself…  and I definitely enjoyed school more once we returned.”

As his freshman year comes to a close, Ty is undoubtedly excited for the future of his high school career. Though he proclaims that the pandemic ironically helped him “ease into the high school experience,” he hopes the coronavirus will ease up enough to allow him to experience aspects of high school that the Eastern community was robbed of in the last year. “It’s interesting… usually freshman year is when you get to see what [high school is really] like,” said Ty. “Definitely as a freshman I don’t entirely know everything that happens, [so I’m excited to] see what that’s really like next year.”

If you had the chance to talk to yourself from a year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

“… Just get through it. You’ll be fine. Get your work done!” 

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