Students were welcomed by two balloon arches that were put on both sides of the campus. (Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online/ Piktochart)
Students were welcomed by two balloon arches that were put on both sides of the campus.

Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/Achona Online/ Piktochart

AHN Starts The 2020-2021 School Year

August 20, 2020

Although it was different than previous first days, the 2020-2021 school year officially began on Wednesday, Aug. 19. It has been five long months since students were last on campus. New protocols such as mandatory masks, social distancing, and different lunch periods made the first day different; besides these new procedures, the first day of the school year was just like any other day of classes. Classes began at 8:00 AM in a day one schedule, and students rotated through their classes.

“I think all of the girls have been so cooperative: everyone’s wearing their masks, everyone’s happy to be here, the teachers have worked so hard to prepare everything for you all. I think it’s going pretty well. It’s a bummer that it rained and we have to eat inside, but everyone’s taking it in stride, [the students are] happy to be here, and I’m happy too,” said High School Principal Stephanie Nitchals.

Unlike previous school years, the first day of school was not the typical all-school orientation, but rather a normal class rotation. On Monday and Tuesday, the class of 2024 experienced Student Council’s annual freshman orientation. The freshman class was split into groups, and social distancing procedures were in place throughout the day. Despite this, students were able to play the traditional games and activities, such as “Peel the Banana” and writing letters to their future selves.

Senior students typically wear their homemade senior shirts at all-school orientation, but that was not possible this year. To keep this tradition alive, however, High School Assistant Principal Erin Krukar allowed the senior class to wear their homemade shirts along with their uniform bottoms on the first day of school. Senior students missed out on many of the other senior traditions, such as running into orientation and having a senior sleepover, but were appreciative of the chance to stand out on the first day.

“I did a blue and yellow, the school colors, tie-dye shirt. I tried to do like a jersey style with the word ‘senior’ and ‘#21’ on the back. It was fun [to make],” said Julianne Bland (‘21).

Seniors in Lori Kearney’s advisory, like all the other advisories, got a chance to hang out and watch safety procedure videos before going to class. (Photo Credit: Adriana James-Rodil/ Achona Online)

As predicted, COVID-19 has made some aspects of school much more difficult. For example, having collaborative class time and interacting with classmates has been made burdensome. Another challenging aspect is flowing through the halls, especially since new traffic patterns have been established. Teachers and students are still getting accustomed to communicating with masks; despite this, the resounding sentiment among those on campus is that they are grateful to be back.

“It’s awesome to be able to see everyone’s faces again. I’m surprised at how hard it’s been to hear and talk with the masks on, though,” said Theology Teacher Felix Kalinowski.

The 2020-2021 school year has gotten off to a great start, despite the unique challenges that have presented themselves due to COVID-19. If students continue to follow protocols, the school year will be able to proceed as scheduled and everyone will get to enjoy the campus they know and love.

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