Seniors explain their experience jumping back into school after a pandemic


Credit: Lily DeAnda

Samuel Bistrek, Karina Gutierrez, Naysa Quinones, Claire Goodwin-Kelly, Olyvia Ward, James Rocco, Kylie Kilgo, and Cecilia Salazar (left to right) show their support at the Men’s Varsity Soccer game against Portage Central.

Kylie Kilgo, Staff Writer

It is a bright and early morning for the students of the Kalamazoo Public School District as they return to school from being virtual for over a year and a half. As nerves rise for our young freshman, the excitement is only beginning for our high school seniors.

As students flooded back into schools for the 21-22 school year, for the first time in over a year and a half, it was especially important for high school seniors who finally got to be in-person for the first time since 2020.

According to MICHIGAN VIRTUAL at least 121,900 students in Michigan took at least one virtual course in the 20-21 school year which is approximately 8% of students in Michigan. Now students, especially seniors, are ready to arrive back into classrooms.

Seniors Claire Goodwin-Kelly and Ella Boyea are looking forward to finishing high school with their peers in person this school year.

“Seeing old friends, meeting new friends and being able to utilize all of us being together again,” said Goodwin-Kelly. “With the year off and being in total isolation, it’s nice to actually be able to see masked faces and talk to people.”

As for senior Boyea, she is especially happy about coming back to school after the pandemic.

“The best part about being back in school my senior year is being able to interact with people again and having the high school experience one last time, like it should be,” said Boyea as she missed the face to face connections with her peers.

For some, the transition was hard, but for senior Goodwin-Kelly, being able to come back into the building this year has made a huge impact on her social life.

As for Goodwin-Kelly the impact on her social life has increased as she has attended football games, soccer games, swim and dive meets and the women’s volleyball games. She has connected with many faces since pre-pandemic.

From the start of the school year, senior Goodwin-Kelly, has been looking forward to all of the senior festivities such as attending many of our sporting games, being a part of National Honor Society, attending PeaceJam and playing her last year of women’s high school soccer this spring.

“It has made me more enthusiastic about coming to school. I think we all took it for granted. Honestly, I really struggled with being online and just had no motivation whatsoever. Being back here, I’m more motivated and enjoy the little things more,” said Goodwin-Kelly.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many students took in person learning for granted. As some enjoyed the online setting, many students struggled with the transition to learning outside of the classroom setting.

“Getting this opportunity to come back to school has changed me,” said Boyea. “It has showed me that even the things we don’t always like, like school, we shouldn’t take for granted because one day it could all be different, and we need to enjoy it while we have it.”

Many seniors have been hoping to return to school since the start of the pandemic. When they got the news that for the 21-22 school year they would be back in school, many were more than thrilled.

As for the younger classes, some students seem to not take in-person learning as seriously and take returning to school with their friends as time to play around.

“The worst part about coming back to school is seeing kids take advantage of it,” Boyea continued.“As a senior, I want my year to be special, and for us to get the things we want, but when students don’t make good choices it affects everyone, and that makes me upset.”

Although the pandemic took a huge toll on the students’ learning and social lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors of Loy Norrix are pumped to regain their social lives and experience learning in the classroom setting again, but this time as a senior during their last year of high school.