As the whole world looks forward to the coming day when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, Huntington High School students are among those most fervently anticipating an end to the global health crisis. News that several potential vaccines have had positive results in trials has quickened pulses that an end to the public health crisis is drawing closer.
Let there be no mistake, Huntington High School students and their counterparts across the district have had their lives upended by the pandemic. But everyone continues to make the best of the situation.
“The COVID pandemic has affected my life in many ways I hate, having to walk out of the house or leave somewhere and always remember to bring my mask with me,” senior Sophia Severine said. “Another thing that really affected me was losing the volleyball season that I was really looking forward to. Thankfully, COVID hasn’t hurt me or anyone in my family, which I’m happy for although everything else about it is horrible. Not being able to go to school every day and having to walk around and see everyone in masks and sitting plastic dividers, it’s really sad to think this is reality now.”
Everyone knows full well how the pandemic has negatively affected them. But Huntington students are striving to identify the positives in their lives and concentrate on them.
“I feel that the COVID pandemic has affected my life in several ways,” sophomore Jillian Panos said. “I found adjusting to the new way of leaning a little challenging and I miss the face to face teaching and the socialization that came with regular school. Besides school, I was very upset to hear that fall sports were going to be postponed to the spring. Although COVID has had its negatives, one of the positives was being able to spend more time with my family.”
Senior Adora Colay’s entire family has suffered during the COVID-19 crisis, including her mother who is a nurse in a healthcare facility with full contact with those afflicted by the virus.
“When I heard that the school was shutting down last March for a couple days, it felt like a fever dream,” Ms. Colay said. “It’s still hard to believe that a couple days turned into months. Being stuck inside all day made it very hard to focus on school work as I felt my social and mental drive shutting down.”
Ms. Colay is a realist and she understands how COVID-19 has changed the world, including right here in Huntington. With that said, she is still trying to remain positive.
“I had never expected for my senior year to turn out this way,” Ms. Colay said. “From senior photos to senior prom, everything is going to be different. Comparing how I hoped my senior photos would look this year to those of my siblings has definitely made me sad. I really wanted a cap and gown photo. It’s a struggle to stay positive during times like this, but I am making an effort to do so.”
While the Huntington teenagers have proven to be flexible and resilient, they have suffered hardships during the pandemic. However, they have also managed to turn the circumstances to their advantage whenever possible.
“The COVID pandemic has largely impacted my life,” junior Alexis Kaloudis said. “It gave me the chance to spend time with my family as well as try out many new different things. I spent time painting, baking, exercising and experimenting with fun ideas I found online. I was also able to learn a lot about the important topics that arose in 2020. The pandemic gave me time to really work on myself as a person, which I’m appreciative of. Unfortunately COVID also restricted my access to my friends and my job, but as summer came around I was able to get those things back. Work during a pandemic is definitely strange, but I was able to adjust quickly. With school starting again, getting back into the groove was a little hard and I’m still struggling a little to pick up my grades. I’m glad we get to go in at least twice a week though, because I feel I learn much better in school. Adjusting to school online was hard, but I think by now I have the hang of it.”
Huntington students are doing what they can to protect their health and safety during the pandemic while still managing to lead their lives.
“I’ve been working at a local grocery store during this pandemic,” junior Sophia Toscano said. “It’s interesting to see how people interact with each other and myself while I handle their groceries. An unfortunate part is that I don’t know what my coworkers look like since I was hired during the pandemic and we’re all wearing masks. Overall with the pandemic, I definitely wash my hands more than ever before.”
While the public health crisis has changed the school experience for everyone, Huntington High School have been adept at finding new avenues for their energy and interests.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely altered our sense of normal,” junior Morgan Colleluori said. “It was hard to spend those few months missing school, activities and clubs, which was part of our normal life. However, I was very happy to see how our community pulled together to support one another. Throughout these months there were many opportunities that I was able to take advantage of to help members of the Huntington community that were in need of food, clothes and other necessities.”