“The start of the school year has shaped up to be a collection of interest and positivity” Braden Southland, a senior at FHE, stated.
With the last two years being shadowed by the recent pandemic, students are more keen than ever to put themselves out there and join with others to increase collaboration and social interaction. Because of virtual learning and social distancing, people were not able to interact face to face with one another, which can be damaging to friendships. Sporting events are a major part of the high school experience, and the last few years have made them difficult to attend. “School events were one of my favorite parts of high school, so it was hard not being able to attend. But now with school being back in person, I am able to attend and I feel much more compelled to do so,” Braden commented. Now that fans can attend again, attendance is rising and so is school spirit.
Social interaction is another major component of the high school experience. Seeing your friends every day, talking with teachers, and being in the presence of others completes the experience. When asked if he felt like the pandemic had negatively impacted his ability to connect with others, Braden said “No, I do not feel like my ability to connect has been dampened. In fact, I find it easier to talk with people because the pandemic has made me want to put myself out there.” The attendance at Eastern football games has been amazing. People who normally would not show up for sporting events are now showing up regularly, and the student section is louder than ever. People being together, if it is with peers, teachers, or close friends, is becoming once again a normal part of life.
As a senior, people begin to more seriously consider what their future will look like. With college essays and applications, job interviews and University visits, the fall is a busy time. When asked what he was planning on pursuing after high school Braden replied “After high school I feel like I would love to be a high school math teacher. I know that doesn’t sound like a very exciting career but for me it is a way I can help others. One of my biggest influences is Mr. Tolly, a math teacher at FHE. I had him for Algebra 1 in 9th grade and when the year was over I was inspired by him to become a math teacher.” This is just one of an infinite number of ideas the student body at Eastern has to not only excel at supporting each other, but also to encourage each other to succeed.