We’re All “Freshmen” This Fall

After a year filled with quarantine, hybrid school, and virtual learning, LHS opened its old — and new — doors, ready for a fresh start. The dividers are gone, the hallways are two-way, and the cafeteria is again a place of socialization. Furthermore, the “new wing” of LHS is fully constructed and open for business. Going back to class in-person is already an adjustment after a year and a half of virtual learning, but adding a whole new wing to the building made some students feel like a freshman again this school year.

The Class of 2024 graduated middle school in the midst of the pandemic and returned to “normal school” as sophomores in high school. Their workload is noticeably heavier in tenth grade than ninth, making the transition this year even more challenging. Sophomore Jesse Bodian touched on this phenomenon: “I feel like I am just getting adjusted to regular school. It is a lot to get used to the workload after not doing real work like this since the beginning of eighth grade.” 

Sophomore Jack Haberman said that he is happy to be back full time. “It’s been great walking into a full classroom, being able to do work on paper, working with my peers in class, and not having to look through plexiglass,” he said. 

These students had to learn to navigate the new wing of the building while still getting used to the original building, and Bodian commented that she “felt like a freshman” trying to find her way around the new building. The navigation was made easier with maps published by the district and the list of renumbered rooms. It was not a normal transition into tenth grade, but Bodian and Haberman both “do not feel like freshmen” any longer as the school year progresses.

Juniors were sent into quarantine barely into the second semester of their freshman year, and they returned to “normal school” as upperclassmen. Junior year is notoriously called “hell year,” and transitioning into it after online school has been difficult. Junior Alexi Deninno shared that it was a “very hard adjustment going from hybrid/virtual school last year to this year.” 

Junior Ava Schwam echoed this sentiment: “Getting used to the workload after being online is definitely a big transition.” However, Deninno and Schwam, along with their peers, are very “appreciative” of being able to experience normal high school events such as Class Night, a longstanding LHS tradition. Deninno commented that it took her about “two weeks” to get into a routine and learn how to navigate the new building. Schwam added that she “did feel like a freshman” when the year began. 

The Class of 2022 faced a similar transition: they began quarantine as underclassmen and returned to “normal school” as seniors applying to college. The hallways in the new wing were just as big of an adjustment for the seniors as they were for the rest of the school. Senior Emma Leighley said she feels that this year is “a lot easier” than last year and is happy for the removal of plexiglass and socially-distanced desks. Senior Jaden Harvin agrees: “I feel that this year is definitely better than last year because now everybody is back in school, and we have full classes.” 

Many seniors are ecstatic to be back full-time for a normal senior year, but getting used to the new building caused seniors such as Leighley to have “trouble adjusting” during the first few weeks of school. Harvin shared that it was “a little tiring” to get used to forty-minute periods again. 

Furthermore, after three years of perfecting the navigation of the old building, Leighley explained that “it really did not take a long time to get used to the new wing.” Both Leighley and Harvin felt the transition into this year was “smooth” and were happy with the normalcy of the school day. They agreed that the “freshman feeling” wore off very quickly once the school year picked up speed.

This year continues to require flexibility from students and teachers. The school day returned to normal, with longer periods and shorter time in between them. Plexiglass was taken down all over America, and desks were moved closer together. At LHS, the transition was even more pronounced because of the addition of the new wing. Students and staff are finally adjusting and enjoying the fun aspects of school.