Freshmen navigate through unknown

Lauren McCann, reporter

Freshman year of high school: The “new beginning” that many young adults look forward to. 

   Aspirations are sparked, and expectations fly high. Nevertheless, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, these teenagers’ hopes of an ideal freshman year have been drastically transformed.

   An ideal 2020-2021 school year was not to be anticipated due to the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic. School administration took this curveball, and created various strategies and techniques to help students navigate through this ever-changing year. 

   Assistant Principal Stephanie McGeroge shone a light on the administration’s focus when preparing for students to begin school last fall.

   “Our goal, more than ever, was to get to know the individual needs for the students by building relationships as soon as possible. We did this through a lot of face-to-face virtual learning, as well as holding ‘office hours,’”McGeorge said. 

   McGeorge elaborates upon this by explaining additional tactics used in order to help guide students through this sense of unknown.

   “We utilized the freshman teams for strong communication to parents and students. We also worked to implement mental health and mindfulness into daily lessons in their classes,” McGeorge said. 

   With the implementation of these support systems, students were able to begin the school year through an online approach. This transformation of learning environments was not the only transition taking place among students, however.

   Freshman students, in particular, were tasked with the challenge of transitioning from middle school to high school amidst a quickly-evolving year. As a result, many challenges arose for students as they walked through this uncharted territory.

   Freshman Jah’liaha Young expressed some of the hurdles she has faced throughout this year. 

   “It’s affected my ability to make friends, [even though] I’m a very social person.”

   Freshman Colin McCann shared his experience with making friends as high school has begun.

   “I feel that it’s easier [to make friends,] because we are all going through the same thing,” McCann said.

   Through the challenges of this year, many positives have arisen. McCann explains some of the benefits he has discovered. 

   “It has given me an opportunity to adapt to the unexpected and be ready for anything.”

    McGeorge shares additional positives that have sprouted this year. 

   “I think we have seen a new level of appreciation for simple things that may have been taken for granted previously, [such as] being able to work in groups without worrying about our health,” McGeorge said.

   As the 2020-2021 school year came to a close, it is clear that many lessons have been learned. With this, the Westerville North community has come together for an “All-In” mentality.