Redwood students look back on the 2020-2021 school year

The 2020-2021 school year has been one of the most unexpected school years in history. COVID-19, wildfires, a controversial presidential election and much more have led to an out of the ordinary year. Many students can attest to the uncertainty around how people would make it through the year, but the following months brought both positive moments and a promising future. As another year at Redwood comes to a close, students reflect on the events that took place both inside and outside of school that characterized this chaotic year. 

Seniors Joe van Dorsten, Connor Moon and Addie Duryee shared their experiences about starting school completely online. Van Dorsten discussed how the shift to online school had some positives such as being able to wake up later in the morning and having a flexible schedule. Duryee and Moon mentioned that the shift to a fully online school year, while disappointing, was expected and an overall good measure for protecting the health of the community.

“[Online school] was completely expected and I think I would have been more upset if we had gone back [to school] because that would have been so much worse community health wise,” said Duryee.

  While much of the student body’s focus this year was on how school impacted them, many people’s focus was on the events happening outside the classroom. Moon mentioned the election and the tension that came with the discussions surrounding it, specifically as his classmates cast their first ballots. Sophomore Ava Buske, along with the other students, discussed the craziness that followed the wildfires in the fall as the sky turned into an orange color, a shocking addition to the year that kept them from going outdoors. 

“Having red skies and a red sun for the entire day definitely made it feel apocalyptic and end of the world style,” said van Dorsten. 

One of the most eventful parts of the school year was the possibility of a return to in-person learning becoming a reality. Sophomore Julie Joy Oliveira discussed the shift from dreary online school to lively in-person learning this spring. Both Oliveira and Buske acknowledged how going from studying in pajamas to learning in the classroom was one of the best parts of the year and led them to be more productive in school. They mentioned that, while the first cohorts that returned to school may have been small, they were the first steps to what would be a bigger and more integrated student body on campus.

The 2020-2021 school year has had its fair share of ups and downs. Through all the troubles of the pandemic, students persevered through virtual classrooms and returned to campus for the final months of the year. As the end of the school year approaches, excitement about graduation, summer vacation and the upcoming fall semester stirs. Through this unexpected year, events like these indicate a return to normalcy for the student body.