Freshmen year: a strange turn of events

Hybrid learning yields mixed reviews from ninth graders


Shaydi Falcon

Freshmen Environmental Science class has a conversation during asynchronous class time. Hybrid classes have been in session since Feb. 22.

Johanna Kaplan

For freshmen, this year has been far from a typical high school experience. Despite Park’s transition back to hybrid learning, school continues to feel foreign according to freshman Will Gohman. 

“It’s been really strange to be in high school, but not really go to the building,” Gohman said. “I am a high schooler now but it feels weird to say because I’ve only been to the building for school four or five times.” 

English teacher Lindsey Meyer emphasizes the importance of in-person learning. According to Meyer, her classes have been productive since returning to the building.

“In these few days in hybrid with ninth graders, we just get so much done. They are so willing and ready to work because they really need that face-to-face help,” Meyer said.

Though hybrid learning may be advantageous academically, it is far from perfect according to freshman Mae Turman. 

“I’ve been to school three times but (it’s) not the same because we’re wearing masks so we can’t see the other half of each other’s faces,” Turman said. “You can’t hear anybody and it’s just depressing all over.”

I want things to be normal, but our world is not normal still, and so we’re all having to grieve about the fact that things are different.

— Lindsey Meyer

High school, as envisioned by incoming freshmen, is filled with hefty expectations according to Meyer.

“There are so many expectations and so much anticipation about going into high school,” Meyer said. “They think about high school and it seems so grown up and so exciting.”

Additionally, Turman said navigating the building poses another challenge in the school day.

“When we’re going around the school, we don’t know where we’re going,” Turman said. “This is a whole new school, so it’s totally different.” 

Meyer hopes for the best for ninth-grade students and feels it’s important to adjust to difficult circumstances. 

“I feel really bad for students. I want them back in the building,” Meyer said. “I want things to be normal, but our world is not normal still, and so we’re all having to grieve about the fact that things are different.”