Sophomores Swarm to the Hive


Michala Found

The Swarm throws powder to kickoff the game against QO, a tradition at Damascus.

Emalie Jaramillo, Staff Writer

   No Friday Night Lights, no getting to know the teachers, no homecoming. This year’s sophomores didn’t learn in person during their first year in high school because of the COVID-19 outbreak that caused schools to remain closed for over a year and a half.

   Sophomore Maya Tinney, who stayed virtual her freshman year stated, “This year I feel like a freshman. It’s like our high school life is already being cut short because I will only be in school three out of the four years of high school.” She continued, “Virtual learning was depressing, since I wasn’t able to see my friends but I am so glad we are back in school. COVID changed everything.” COVID did change everything for most students because they have never experienced a pandemic like this and never thought they would. Because sophomores didn’t get to experience their first year in high school, all they knew was the “virtual version” of it. 

   Mrs. Rebecca McGaffin,  Science Department Resource Teacher and biology teacher, stated, “When I was switching to virtual learning I spent all day working. Now that I am back at school, I spend all day working.” Last year was a lot of work for most teachers because they had to switch the format of everything they were doing, and they had to learn new technologies at the same time. MCPS was also figuring out the best policies for virtual learning, and sometimes they would give teachers very late notice about a change that affected how they were structuring their lessons and assignments. This year is a lot of work for teachers and students because they are back to seven classes a day, 5 days per week. “Once again we are changing the way we do our instruction by combining some of the techniques from virtual learning, with our curriculum that we did before quarantine.” McGaffin added. 

   In the spring of the 2020-2021 school year, MCPS decided to give students an opportunity to come into the building. Most kids did not come back.  Another sophomore who returned to school in the building last spring, Ashleigh Kitzmiller stated, “Coming to school in person was weird because nobody came back, there were only 3-4 people in each of my classes and the virtual people never turned their cameras on.” Students are happy to be back in school. “I’m happy that we are all back at school and are able to learn normally again with all of our friends,” Kitzmiller added 

   Now that everyone is fully back in school, most of the 10th graders feel like freshmen because they have never experienced high school before. The current sophomores came into the school year having no idea what they were doing or what real high school was like. Tinney said, “I feel like a freshman but I am learning to get used to it.” It’s tough for some people to come back to school because of the pandemic. They are scared of the health risks they are taking. “The students that test positive for COVID can meet with their teachers over Zoom calls, they don’t have to do it live, it depends on the teachers,” Principal Kevin Yates stated. “MCPS wants to keep everyone in school and safe.”