Bringing Back the Juniors: Class of ‘23 Enjoys Time to Coalesce as ‘Normal’

The Class of 23 finally enjoying their first full year together without disruption.

Robert Assard

The Class of ’23 finally enjoying their first full year together without disruption.

Robert Assard, Reporter

WOODBURY — As the year wraps up and finals are around the corner, many juniors feel as if this is their first normal year of school at Nonnewaug. This is due to the many obstacles stopping them from the normal high school experience.

Coming into the 2019-20 school year, the class of 2023 faced many different issues due to construction on school property and a full restoration of the school; this left many classrooms empty hallways in shambles with roofing tiles hanging and wires visible. It was hard for students to get to some classes because they would be forced to take different hallways to get around and avoid construction. 

“I thought I knew what high school was like, but when it’s [finally] a full year, it opened up a new chapter of my life with better experiences,’’ says Ryleigh Sousa, an NHS junior. 

Next to strike not only the class of 2023 but the whole world was a virus that started spreading across the world. On March 10, 2020, Region 14 closed all schools due to COVID-19.

This left many students in suspense and concerned. As the school scrambled to put together a plan for the students, they came up with Zoom meetings and Google Classroom assignments. This made it harder for students to focus on doing work.

 “At the end of my freshman year, COVID hit and I really struggled my sophomore year,” said Tim Humiston, a junior. “It was all online. After a while they gave us the decision to be online or in school, but I stayed online and it really impacted my learning abilities.”

Eventually, many students made their way back to school, but it still wasn’t normal. Students and staff were forced to wear masks, which bothered many students and faculty because they were uncomfortable. The schedule also allowed only half of students to be in person from September 2020 to January 2021, and masks were required until March 2022. Despite these precautions, juniors were glad to be back in person.

As juniors wrap up their first full year of high school, they reflect on how they have improved mentally and academically since the return. 

“I like being able to be in school again; you’re allowed more opportunities,” said Destiney Acevedo, an NHS junior. “You can freely communicate with your friends as well as get more hands-on help than when we were online.”