Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Robbed by the pandemic

Longing for the unforgettable high school experience we didn’t get to have
A comparison of Christmas photos during the COVID-19 pandemic and after it in 2023.

I was in 8th grade when the pandemic shut down the world and forced us into online learning. In fact, I still feel like I have the mentality of one because it was the last time things were normal in school. I feel like I never got the chance to mature, as most people are able to through high school. As it turns out, I am not alone. Many of my classmates also feel robbed of what could have been. We missed out on pivotal moments, like dances, proms and other Sacred Hearts Academy traditions, such as the Rite of Passage and Winter Ball. 

Many of us, who have experienced school through the pandemic, are graduating this year. It’s a bittersweet time. We’re excited to take on life after high school, yet we are still feeling the impacts of things like quarantine, distance learning and the pandemic.  

Sacred Hearts Academy senior Emily Izumo relates. Izumo says the pandemic made her extremely antisocial and caused her to stray away from social interactions. 

“I didn’t want to go out of the house,” she said. “I didn’t want to talk to people anymore. I barely talked to my friends.” 

I felt the same as Izumo did, except the effects showed through my grades, my social life and my mental health. I went from being a straight-A student to a student who was barely passing the class. I never felt like talking to my friends, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I started taking antidepressants and just did not care. For example, before the pandemic, getting an F on an assignment would have been the end of the world to me, but during distance learning, the F’s kept piling up.

Growing up, the Disney Channel shows we watched painted a picture of how high school should be. In my head, I thought it would be like “High School Musical,” a series of movies about two teenagers falling in love and trying to make it work despite their differences in high school. I’d get to hang out with my friends everyday and dance and sing in the cafeteria. In reality my high school experience was far from that, I thought it was going to be the best years of my life. 

When I transferred to the Academy in the 7th grade, the older students would hype up how much fun school dances were and how much closer they became as a class. It still hurts sometimes to think that Iʻll never get to experience that. I didnʻt expect to be trapped at home all summer or in my room during freshman year instead of with my friends in the school hallways. Sometimes I wonder how different high school would’ve been if we didnʻt have to quarantine. 

I know many people who had the same decline in mental health and academics. There was a lot of uncertainty back then, and many schools didn’t know how to help. I felt lucky to attend a private school at the time. We had resources, like access to the internet and computers, to transition into online learning. I have friends in public schools who didn’t have this luxury.

The pandemic affected the whole world, but not a lot is said about the impact it had on students. When researching for this blog, it was difficult to find any articles with student interviews highlighting their experiences during the pandemic. Most articles are about how the pandemic affected business, hospitals or housing. Teenagers also went through a lot of change, on top of all the change that already happens in high school. Our stories should be told.

Then freshmen Ferrer (left) in a Zoom breakout room during a virtual Hawaiian class with Blaiz Lee-Saavedra. Both are now seniors at the Academy. Photo by Kaiulani Ferrer.

I still canʻt believe that I am going to graduate in a few months. My high school experience went by so quickly, yet so slowly at the same time. This school year has definitely been the most normal, and I don’t want to let go of it yet. I feel like things are finally starting to transition back to the way things were, but it’s soon time to leave it behind. 

Since this is my senior year, I’ve been trying to be as involved with school activities as possible. I want to make up for lost time. It’s true that I might’ve joined too many clubs this year, but that’s okay. I wasn’t able to join any during the pandemic, and to make up for all of those canceled dances, I found ways to attend three different proms this year. 

I am happy that the world is slowly going back to the way things were before COVID-19 first hit. Even though I wasn’t able to experience all the things I looked forward to in high school, I am excited for the underclassmen to get things we never had. Real life will never be like what we see on T.V., but you make the most of it, by making it fun. 

About the Contributor
Kaiulani Ferrer
Kaiulani Ferrer, Reporter
Kaʻiulani, commonly referred to as Kaʻiu by her peers, is a first-year Journalism student. She wants to improve her writing skills and broaden her vocabulary while providing unbiased information to the public. She fell in love with cinematography in elementary school and has strived to be a cinematographer ever since.
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  • ZanDec 5, 2023 at 11:58 am

    We need to sing and dance in the cafeteria ASAP Ka`iu- make up for lost time.