By Norah Kelley, ’24
Zoom. Edgenuity. VHS Learning. These are the ways that the dozens of students in the high school’s Virtual Academy are learning in this unpredictable, crazy year. For those who are freshmen, it’s even crazier. The freshmen who are a part of the Virtual Academy have had to start their high school career… all online.
Freshman year is supposed to be filled with new opportunities, making new friends, and trying to figure out what high school is going to be like. None of those can happen when you are sitting in front of your computer screen at home alone
Ashley Stracco, who misses the social aspects of going to school, has mixed feelings about waiting until next fall for her first chance to walk the halls of Hanover High.
“I don’t know how I feel about starting my high school career for the first time as a sophomore,” she said. “It seems exciting, but I wish I was starting it as a freshman.”
Freshmen that are in the Virtual Academy do not get to interact with many other students throughout the school day, unlike their counterparts who are a part of the hybrid model. Except for the Zoom meetings that happen twice a week for virtual students, these students often don’t feel very involved in school.
“I have not participated in any school activities this year,” said Baylor Speckman.
Virtual Academy coordinators have done a great job trying to get these students involved in school, making sure announcements get to the fully remote students and that events like the Student Council’s recent Clash of the Classes strive to include them. But with many clubs not running this year and activities very limited even for hybrid students, the virtual freshmen are missing their chance to try new things – something that freshman year is all about.
“If the pandemic disappeared, I would go back to school tomorrow,” Baylor said. “But for right now, I think the best option for myself is to stay home.”
Though going to school virtually has been a huge adjustment for all students, there are some freshmen who are enjoying it.
“If I could go back to school tomorrow, I wouldn’t because I really like being remote,” said Bridget Sanders. While she is missing out on new friendships, she likes remote learning because, “… it allows me to form my own schedule and learn at my own pace.”