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The COVID Class of ’24 bounces back

As+the+years+passed%2C+most+people+have+stopped+wearing+masks+and+social+distancing%2C+writes+staff+journalist+Hannah+Pepper.
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“As the years passed, most people have stopped wearing masks and social distancing,” writes staff journalist Hannah Pepper.

As the Class of 2024 nears graduation, we can now reflect on the past four years, which has been a bumpy ride with many unexpected turns.

In March of 2020, this year’s senior class, the Class of ‘24, was in eighth grade, not knowing that March 13 would be the last day we would step foot in our middle school buildings.

PA senior Hailey Bubacz said the day of the March 13 felt “off.”

The COVID-19 pandemic began in November of  2019.  While it originated in Wuhan, China, it quickly spread throughout the U.S. and the world community. To keep everyone safe in a time of extreme uncertainty, schools announced they would move to “remote learning” for the next two weeks.

The two weeks became a month, and then schools moved to a remote learning setting for the rest of the school year. We got never to say goodbye to our middle school friends, teachers or the schools.

“I was bummed out at first, but I’m not super social so it wasn’t the worst,” said senior Soleil Pero. “It felt like we had a bad ending.”

However, the four school districts in SAU 53 did something different for the eighth grade “graduation.” 

 In Allenstown, for example, students had a bus driving by our houses followed by all of our teachers. It was a sweet sendoff, but it was also sad knowing what we missed out on. 

“It was a good alternative to the circumstances we were given,” said senior Mason Gagne.

The sadness was not only shared by Allenstown students, but Pembroke students as well. Seniors Angie Lemieux and Lindsay DeCarli both said that they were “disappointed” that they didn’t get to have a proper eighth grade graduation.

“It [stunk] missing out on it,” said DeCarli.

 The Class of ‘24 began our freshman year of high school with a two-weeks of remote learning before moving into a hybrid model. “COVID-19 negatively affected high school because we never got a proper transition into how things are supposed to work,” said Lemieux.

As the years passed, most people have stopped wearing masks and social distancing, unless contagious. In May, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was no longer a national emergency, but a new normal has been established since the pandemic. 

“We made a new normal. It started being treated like a cold. If you’re sick you take a test and go home,” said DeCarli.

Though the first two years of our high school experience were the farthest thing from normal, the Class of ‘24 and the school community has bounced back. “After COVID-19, I feel like high school has met my expectations,” said Lemieux.

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