Reflecting on a truly bizarre year

First period journalism students weigh in on what the pandemic meant for each of them


Preston Brubaker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 2020-2021 school year has been anything but normal. As this does not come as a surprise to many of us, there were still many things to take away from this year. For some this year was very challenging and students had to work harder, but for others this year was a bit easier. This year was a year of many firsts. Schools shut down entirely, new vaccines were created and school was done completely online. Never in history has schools nationwide shut down. There were many positives this year as well – we had a presidential election, schools opened back up and sports returned. Below are some thoughts about this year from students at Enochs. They have written about their personal experiences, beliefs, and takeaways from this year. Enjoy.

Jessica Bower – Class of 2021

This year was one like no other, from this generation’s first pandemic to the wild election and unfortunate worldly events. As a senior, this school year in particular has challenged me in several ways that I never expected. In the beginning, I was excited to explore this particular method of learning, and I was motivated to work my hardest. As time went on, the daily routine began to wear me down and my performance in school decreased steadily. I am on track to graduate, but I feel as if I did not learn exactly how I would’ve had our whole year been in person. Everything feels uncertain and slightly unnerving, and I feel as though my senior class has not fully experienced what it’s supposed to be like, however it is understandable given the circumstances. If anything, this year has taught me that everyone has their own setbacks and challenges that they must overcome, but we shouldn’t give up on ourselves or the things that are important to us. 

Julian Florendo – Class of 2021

This school year definitely was unlike any other year. Though it was tough and such a bore at most times. I am grateful for this year and what it has brought me. It would have totally been different if things didn’t happen the way they did and I’m grateful for that. Lots of changes and things have happened that I’m happy about. But I’m definitely ready for it to be over now.

Leticia Haro – Class of 2021

This year has been an interesting one for me. I’ve spent over 90% of this year cooped up inside my house waiting to hear something about our schools opening up, or prom and school dances being allowed again, or anything really. Halfway through this school year, I moved to Southern California, and within that same month, the school’s opened back up. I was pretty upset about this because now I had no way of finishing my senior year the way I had planned. I was so excited to hear that there was going to be an in-person graduation, however, I was a bit disappointed to hear they were only allowing two guests per student, but at this point, I won’t complain. This year really sucked honestly because I was completely isolated from my friends and then I wasn’t even able to enjoy the things I had been working towards for four years. I can wholeheartedly say that high school was not the best years of my life. However, I am glad I am not alone in this, and that there are many other students, teachers, and parents who feel the same. 

Claire Johnson – Class of 2021

This year has been a disturbance of all routines I had previously held all of high school; going to school, seeing teachers and peers daily, attending spirit events every weekend, etc. These routines were replaced with a new one: staying at home, folding my laundry during lectures, cooking my lunch instead of packing one, going to the gym before class, going on day trips with my best friend on a Wednesday just because we could. Over time, the new routine felt more comfortable than the old one, and truthfully more suited to my preferences. The distance learning routine, overall, made me feel like I was more in control, more in charge of my own life, and more independent. I still always saw the friends from school I wanted to see, and still felt that I was keeping up academically. When news broke that students were able to return to school, I realized I almost didn’t want to, and many of my peers even still feel strongly that way. Though I have returned to school most days, the distance learning routine, which to me, consists of enough independence and free time to do whatever I need/want to, still feels like the more comfortable and normal one to me now. As a senior, being at school now feels like a shadow of what it once was, far fewer students, no activities, an empty parking lot, and though it is nice to be back to my old ‘normal’, I savor it more as a form of nostalgia than as a current comfort. 

Brayden Tobin – Class of 2021

Let’s have a long chat – starting off with the bad. To begin, the pandemic has completely ruined all fun a senior is supposed to include. No prom. No senior trip. Not even a normal graduation. There are no parties to go to. Shopping is limited. It’s all so cutthroat and strict. The end of 2020 was supposed to bring good vibes, but everything got a whole lot worse. But despite all the pain we have endured; both emotional and physical, some good has shown through. Jobs have become more available to students and people without them. Families have gained stronger bonds. Friends that are socially distancing together have gained bonds that are now unbreakable. I’ve gotten a whole lot closer to certain people during the corona months. All we can do is hope the past norms return after this is all over.

Preston Brubaker – Class of 2022

This year has been different for sure. At the beginning of the year, there was nothing, no sports, no hangouts, just distance learning. As an athlete, I have been playing baseball my whole life, and not being able to play baseball was hard. On top of that, we had distance learning which took some time to get used to. Distance learning was hard for everyone and there were a lot of problems at the beginning. But as the year is coming to a close we worked out the problems and things seem to be somewhat smoother. The whole nation has been under stress but everyone is getting through these uncertain times. Stay Strong, we are almost done with this school year!

Stephanie Calvillo-Martinez – Class of 2022

This year we have faced many challenges, it was something new for all of us. As a high school student, it was very difficult because my main focus was this year was to get my license but due to COVID, I couldn’t since everything was closed and everyone was scared of getting COVID. I have learned a lot because of this, I lost many friends and even gained some. It made me realize that people are only your friends because you saw them five times a week but in this case, I saw no one but my two close friends. I got closer to my mom’s family and now we all do almost everything together. We all became really close with some of my cousins’ co-workers and now we all hang out together. When covid started the challenges were not being able to see my friends and family and everything changed like having to wear a mask everywhere and there only being limited people in stores. As well as always having to have hand sanitizer and being more cautious about things. 

Alexia Cuiriz – Class of 2022

I left school at the beginning of the pandemic as a sophomore. Now in a couple of months, I’m going to be starting my senior year. That alone is crazy to me. This year has been the slowest yet fastest year in all my high school career. Distance learning was something that seemed easy at first but was actually more difficult than I thought. Every day felt like an overload of homework and due dates. Wake up, stare at a computer for 6 hours, complete other many hours of school work, go to sleep, repeat. It was an endless cycle and felt as if there was never going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I think the only part I enjoyed was being in the comfort of my own home and being able to make food I liked during lunch.

Samara Garmon – Class of 2022

This year has definitely been different from most years. I believe COVID has its pros and cons. I think that with this pandemic there have been a lot of struggles for some students with online learning and technology. Personally, for me, I have enjoyed online learning. It gave me a break from in-person school for a bit, and I will get to go back for my senior year in the fall and enjoy in-person school. I think that COVID has been a blessing and a curse for some things, but throughout online schooling, it hasn’t been too bad for me and I quite enjoyed it. I’m ready to go back, but I don’t mind staying at home. 

Adrian Garnica – Class of 2022

This school year has been very different from many in the past. It has been difficult not seeing friends and everyone on campus. I’d rather be in a classroom with classmates and teachers rather than at home in front of a laptop. This is a school year that I will never forget because it has been very different. This year has been an experience like no other which has been difficult at times. Hopefully, next year will be much different where it can feel a bit more normal.

Lorenzo Zamora – Class of 2022

This year was weird but you know what it’s always nice to go through weird experiences. I’m not gonna lie to you it was hell excuse my language but that’s just how it goes. A year full of videos, online assessments, computer screens, and stupid technical difficulties that made you want to scream and cry. But guess what? We made it! We made it past all these dumb things and I know there are people that say “this year was the best year because we got to stay home” but there are a good amount of people that can’t learn online. So in conclusion, this year sucked but with the help of friends and family we made it through this horrible and odd year and hope to bring back “normal” for our next and final year of high school.

James Alcarez – Class of 2022

This past year has been one of the most interesting experiences with school for me. At first, I just thought it was going to be something that would last a week or two, but clearly, it has blown my expectations away. At times things were harder and other times they were easier. I found that sometimes, it was much harder to stay focused on the task at hand or just to pay attention to school in general. Sometimes I felt more motivated than ever to do my work because I had all the freedom that I wanted in school before the pandemic started; though sometimes that freedom could be too inviting. A lot of the time I found myself not even doing my schoolwork because I just didn’t “have” to and there wasn’t any sort of enforcement to ensure that I kept on track. As this school year is coming to an end, it has had me reflecting a lot on my past and how I look at and feel towards school. I feel now that I have never taken it seriously enough and it has left me feeling regretful. I never saw school as something that was important or even something that I was interested in, but now I feel like I want to put more effort into my education. I want to do better and be better but I don’t know if its too late for me to be able to get accepted into a university or even graduate on time with my friends. I wish that I could go back in time and just retry with the motivation and mindset I have now, but I will just have to do my best now. Overall, this school year has been very interesting and as we are coming to an end, it has made me rethink how seriously I want to take school. 

Julian Alvarez – Class of 2023

This school year has been very weird for me. I would be lying to you if I told you it was easy but to be honest, It was really hard. I thought it would be easy at first because everything is online and I get to stay home and it was like that for the first month then I started to slip up. Grades were falling and I started losing confidence and losing motivation. I struggled late 1st and second semester and grades dropped and I got sad and I thought I would not be able to bring them up because assignments were stacking up and I pretty much gave up. Personally, I didn’t really have any good times other than the beginning of the year because my grades were good. In conclusion, this year has been a struggle but next year I feel like things will get better.

Nathanael Shamon – Class of 2023

This school year has been rough on many individuals, but personally, there were also a lot of positives. I own a dog, so I get to spend a lot more time with her than I usually would. She likes to lay by me and sleep while I work on something while in class. Speaking of classes, some were a lot nicer to do online but there were also some classes that were harder to do online. One major one being history for me. Friend-wise, I already spent most of my time talking to friends online so that did not really change much for me. I got to eat a lot more food that could be homemade during lunchtime which was delicious, as well as get more sleep in the mornings because I know I do not need to rush for anything. Overall there were definitely negatives for this whole year, but I feel like the positives make up for it.

Jordan Murphy – Class of 2023

This year was a huge adjustment for everyone in the world. With the uncertainty of school and other activities, this school year has been very difficult. The lack of in-person collaboration made many students not participate as much during online meetings, making the news website take much longer to start up than what was planned. However, this year was not all bad. Being a part of the start of the new Enochs Eagle Eye student news website was an amazing experience. This year was difficult and frustrating at times, but it taught us all many things and was a great learning experience.

Nicole Wells – Class of 2024

This year has been a huge mess for everyone. Students in school and out of school. Most states are still in quarantine. My friend who lives in Idaho has not been in quarantine for a while now and goes to school normally. This goes for teachers as well – if their students aren’t learning anything it goes towards their record that they are not helping their students. But when at home on zoom or other meeting links the teachers most likely reach their students versus how they can when at school in person. Also having Finals for students that have been attending school over a computer for a year and a half is a risk. A reason is there are a lot of distractions and most students at home are not learning as much as in the past years when we were in school in person.