Friday marks the conclusion of the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, and seniors at Hayes High School said this week they are looking forward to their final semester as high school students.
Mackenzie Collett, who serves as the student member on the Delaware City Schools Board of Education, said she’s “pleasantly surprised” with how the first semester went.
“So far, my semester has gone really well, considering the circumstance of there being a global pandemic,” she said. “I really did not know what to expect going into it.”
Collett added she was worried hybrid learning would make the workload too intense or too light, but she said they were comparable to previous years.
“The academics have been the same as years prior from my experience,” she said. “I appreciate all of the time and effort the teachers and staff have put in to ensure that.”
Collett said she’s thankful that teachers had customized labs and experiments so that they could be done safely and without putting students in close proximity, including a lab from Joshua Lamb, a math teacher at Hayes, that involved calculating the number of rubber bands needed to prevent a doll from striking the ground once dropped off the roof of the school.
“We actually got to test our equations,” Collett said. “While the year certainly hasn’t been ‘normal,’ it was labs and experiences like that that kept my enthusiasm towards learning high and made me excited for class, whether we were virtual or in person. Even with the switch from hybrid to online, I continued to enjoy my time doing labs with the class, even if they were over a video conference.”
Collett added she’s “absolutely” looking forward to her final semester.
“I am sad that it is my last, and I would be lying if I didn’t say it is a bit disappointing that it will not be ending as I had always imagined it would with senior prom and house games, however, once again, considering the circumstances, I am just entirely grateful,” Collett said.
As for what she misses most about Hayes, she said it is her time in the transition room working with special education students.
“For the first three years, I spent at least one period a day mentoring in the classroom along with hanging out with them during lunch, before and after school, at school events, and outside of school on the weekends, so not getting to spend the time with them in person has been hard,” Collett said, adding that the room now meets virtually once a week to play games and chat.
Collett said she would have loved to be back in the classroom five days a week but joked that “it was nice never having to worry about parking!”
Andrew Bourget said the first semester of his senior year has been “interesting to say the least.” For example, Bourget said that scheduling and cohorts meant he had to call into his music theory class. He added it was challenging to not have in-person feedback an instruction.
Bourget said the unusual structure of the year was a learning exercise in and of itself.
“Overall, having my classes in person only two to three days a week and now all online, posed a challenge to me to manage my own routine and be more strict with myself about getting my work done,” Bourget said. “I’ve thought about it as practice for when I go to college, since most college classes don’t meet every day, which has given me a glance into what college might be like.”
Bourget said he’s enjoyed being able to sleep in and do work at his own pace during online instruction days in the hybrid model, but he misses extracurricular activities like band.
“Because of COVID restrictions, my band season was so different from anything we’ve had in the past, so I had to adapt and accept the fact that it wouldn’t be the same,” Bourget said. “If I look on the positive side of this, I can tell myself that it made me appreciate my past band seasons more and every moment in band I had this season. I miss seeing friends and people I wouldn’t necessarily talk to every day otherwise in class. It’s been weird not seeing people I’m used to seeing every week in class.”
Bourget added he’s looking forward to hopefully returning to a hybrid schedule next semester.
Since he’s done with college applications and music auditions, Bourget said he will be able to focus more on the parts of school he enjoys most.
“Specifically, being able to devote more time to The Talisman (Hayes student newspaper). Also, being able to spend more time with friends since the weight of admissions is off my shoulders.”
Ainsley Tatman said her senior year has been sad because of COVID, but she’s making the most of her final year at Hayes.
“I have enjoyed certain parts of it, but parts of the semester have also made me a little sad,” Tatman said. “Part of feeling sad is normal because I’m a senior doing everything for the last time, but most everything is different this year due to COVID-19. It’s also been a little difficult. Having to switch from school work at home to school work at school, and now it’s all online which is hard for many to learn from. It’s disappointing, but it is how it is.”
Tatman said she enjoyed her final season of marching band and was thankful they were still able to have a senior night for band members.
“Although it was at a separate band night and not at the football game, it was very special and we all had a great time,” she said.
Tatman added that because of the circumstances, she “missed a lot.”
“I also missed not being able to have my senior homecoming and all of the fun that usually leads up to that,” she said. “We have no House this year at Hayes … which also means no House competitions, which have been a favorite part of Hayes for me since freshman year. Orchestra and band have not been able to put on any concerts, but we’ve been lucky to record a couple virtual performances.”
Tatman said she also just misses interacting with other students.
“While we were in school, it was hard to do much other than listen and try our best to learn under these abnormal circumstances,” Tatman said. “But, I think everyone just misses the sense of community and the social platform that school normally provides us.”
Tatman said she’s looking forward to next semester, and hopefully, a return to the hybrid learning model.
“It’s difficult to juggle being in school half the week and the other half being at home, but it is worth it to get important social interactions and in-person learning time on the days we’re in school,” Tatman said, adding she hopes she’s able to participate in softball and more music performances. “Hopefully, prom will happen so us seniors can get to go to one.”
Tatman added she’s going into her final semester with a positive attitude and hopes that graduation will get to happen “as close to normal as possible.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.