Chapter Two: COVID-19 Edition


Ava Paulsen, Editor in Chief

Back-to-back zooms, flipgrids, edpuzzles, peardecks, and canvas. Hybrid learning, masks, rotating desks, hand sanitizing stations, and social distancing. This year has been like no other. Unprecedented they say. But for the inaugural class of Castaic High School, it’s just sophomore year. 

These past 14 months have been challenging for people around the world; students and teachers included. We were all expected to continue grading assessments, doing homework, and attending online classes or teaching them as if there wasn’t an uncontained deadly virus infecting the world. A bit like living in a dystopian novel, this year we were all struggling just to survive. Except we’re still expected to take our AP exams.

Last year our class was tasked with the responsibility of setting the culture for Castaic and connecting the school, as the inaugural class. The circumstances of this year made that goal impossible. It’s hard to welcome a new freshman class when the majority of school is online. Even in hybrid, it’s surprisingly difficult to recognize our friends with their masks on, let alone people we’ve only seen in a zoom square. There is an entirely new freshmen class that barely knows the first one, and hardly knows what it means to be a Castaic student. And next year we will have another. Three classes, none of whom have even eaten in the cafeteria.

This year success looks like rolling out of bed five minutes before class, doing online school in pajamas while making sure your mic is muted. For many of us we set the bar pretty low, just showing up is a win. Next year we know things will be different, again. We’ll be creating a new normal, even though we don’t know what that looks like yet. The perseverance and resilience shown by Castaic High School staff and students this school year instills hope that next year will be better; filled with new possibilities—or maybe with the old ones, which at this point will be more than enough.

School rallies, group projects, spirit weeks, sports games, and yoga at lunch were all normal occurrences, often taken for granted, on campus last year. Maybe we didn’t appreciate those opportunities enough when we had them. Hopefully, we will get the chance to embrace them next year. After all, we’re just kids who should make sure to cram in some fun.

Adversity is rarely a welcomed guest, especially when it arrives in the form of a global pandemic. Nevertheless, these moments of misfortune and struggle generate the drive that fuels positive change in the world by reminding us of the areas in our society that still need fixing. Whether it’s climate change, racial injustice, or universal healthcare, this generation, in particular, has shown this year that we have the resilience and tenacity to improve the world. 

And even if that doesn’t work, at least we’ll be able to write an impressive college essay.