Wildcat perspectives: One year later


One year ago, on March 12, 2020, students, staff and their families received the news that school would be moving to virtual learning for a few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those few weeks turned into not going back to school for the rest of the year as the COVID-19 cases in our community continued to rise. Throughout the last year, the lives of those in the community have changed as they have learned to adapt to living in a pandemic. Last April, we did a series called “Wildcat Perspectives: Through the Eyes” where we gathered the perspectives of those in our community. This is a continuation of that series as we feature the perspectives of people in the community as they reflect on the last year, including three people whose perspectives were featured last year.


Helena Nolte, 2019-2020 foreign exchange student from South Africa

When everything shut down. I was very disappointed. I was really sad. I remember crying for like a week because I knew that my exchange year was coming to end. This feeling has changed in that I’ve made peace with the whole thing. I’m still pretty angry because at school, it’s just very hectic to wear a mask for eight hours a day. Honesty, the world is different today in the sense that I have completely lost any direction in anything I want to do. Before COVID, I kind of knew what I wanted to do and I thought studying after school would be a good option, but now with everything happening I kind of just want to live in the woods and not see people again. My life has changed a lot. When I came back, I did online school and now I’ve switched to a new school and I’m doing my final year of school. We’re also moving so things have changed a lot. I think just not being able to attend class, it makes it very tiring at school. A lot of things have been canceled so you can’t meet up with your friends. Police make sure you don’t leave your house at certain times. We have curfew. I do miss going out. Something that has kept me moving is my best friend, Anna. We call each other all the time. She lives about two hours away from me, but we call everyday and just keep in contact. I think friends are very important in these trying times. Somethings I’m looking forward to that I haven’t been able to do during this is definitely just traveling, seeing more people, going to parties, and just feeling like I’m free again. I can’t wait for this to blow over.

To read Nolte’s perspective from last year, click here.


Adriana Brown, 2020 LN grad

I graduated last year, Class of 2020. My perspective of COVID as a senior, is that it was really rough. Not only because I didn’t get to finish off my Senior year how I imagined it to be growing up, I felt that my college experience was going to be tarnished because of this big pandemic going on. I felt like I wasn’t going to get the full college experience. But what I can say now is I feel like my school, and a lot of other colleges are doing a really good job at trying to make my class, which is the Class of 2024, feel like that we are still getting that same experience. Also, I am kind of glad that I did have COVID going in as a freshman in college, because it meant that there would be a lot less distractions. I feel like if there wasn’t COVID, and there were still parties and other events going on, I wouldn’t have been able to focus that well. It is very critical, especially as a freshman in college, to build some sort of routine. Being at home with COVID not allowing us to go anywhere allowed me to make that routine. I made the Dean’s List last semester, and a lot of those accomplishments I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to make if COVID didn’t exist. 

I was bummed out about it early on, but in retrospect, it allowed me to be a better student, allowed me to be more studious, and to focus on what I’m here for. I still hope we have that college experience everyone else got, and I still have three years left of school, so I’m sure I’m going to get it, but my first year wasn’t all that bad. I still made some amazing friends, I built a community, although we still had and have COVID-19, I was still able to build that community of friends, so yeah, that is my perspective and my life so far. 

To read Brown’s perspective from last year, click here.


Rachel Couch, Social Studies Teacher

My reaction was at the beginning I thought it was going to be for two weeks after spring break then we’d all come back. I thought at the time to be honest this could be a nice little break. I didn’t think it would be so terrible to work from home. I thought we’d do this for a couple weeks, come back and finish the school year. Once it didn’t come back two weeks, especially after less and less of my students were showing up on zoom, it was depressing and isolating, and some of my best students somewhat ghosted me a little bit. So that was hard, especially still wanting to prepare for the AP exam and just the unknown. Are we going to come back May 1? Are we going to finish the school year?  Is there going to be a graduation, a prom? A lot of my students had concerns. That made me sad, and I know some kids I wasn’t sure what was going on in their home life. Are they safe and I couldn’t hear from some of them? At this point I was just worried. As far as personal life not seeing my family like most people. I didn’t see my parents for months. My kids, their schools changed. That was a struggle for them. They were both at college, but suddenly it changed for virtual as well. They had to leave and they were missing their friends. They were upset. I’m a pretty social person,so that. I had four international trips planned that  got cancelled so I was very disappointed about that. Just the change in the way I’ve had to teach in the last year. Missing the group aspect, missing the class culture the laughs that we share. Between the mask and the zoom it’s been really hard to build that sense of this is our class. I’m looking at them through a little gallery I haven’t got to meet in person. A lot of the lesson plans that I do are hard to translate to fully technology. So I feel like we miss some of that poster stuff and just little things. For me as a teacher I have not felt very good. I guess my biggest thing is to have some grace with ourselves. Not beat ourselves up, we’re not the 2019 teacher in 2020. Do our best to make that our students know we’re here. Yes, Friday is my shot so I’m excited. I’m hoping that means that things will start to normalize and we can all be together.What i’m loving forward to most making plans. Particularly travelling that’s what I miss most.

To read Couch’s perspective from last year, click here.


Carlotta Milanta, 2019-2020 foreign exchange student from Italy

When everything first shut down, I was very scared to be honest. After China, we were the first one in Europe so no one knew anything. I was very scared. I wasn’t the only one. Everyone was very scared. With everything that happened and after, I think even with the summer where everything seemed better and almost normal what’s different right now is it’s not that I’m not scared, but it’s also that I’m tired of this situation and being stuck at home. Overall, it’s still very hard. I feel like right now I’m still very tired of the situation and in general because even doing eLearning it’s very tiring. I just can’t wait to be back to my life. Although I am still very scared especially for my parents because that’s the people that the virus hits the most. 

What’s incredible is how adaptive we as humans are. Something that two years ago would have been crazy to think is now reality. Doing eLearning and following lessons from home would have felt to me impossible maybe because the school that I go to is very traditional so we’re barely able to use technology. We don’t use computers. We only use the old stuff so that made the difference even stronger compared to LN where you guys were already more digital. You were already used to using technology in your education. So that’s something that surprised me in a better way because even if we had difficulties at the beginning we ended up getting better. Especially I would say professors because I’m used to using technology of course because I’m young but my professors are all old so they had some problems at first but now they’ve gotten better. Since February of last year, I haven’t been able to go back to school normally. For a good period of time, my school spent the whole time doing eLearning. This year, we did what we call half-eLearning which is basically they divided our class in two groups and one week one group would go in person and the other group would follow from home and then they would switch. So for a couple months at the beginning of the year, I went to school but only for a week every two weeks. Then we had some lockdowns until now and again we spent all the time doing eLearning. 

In that sense, my life has changed because I went from going to school everyday to not going to school for a long time. Also I was not able to see my friends for a very long time. Right now, it is very hard to meet. I live in the city center so the virus was very strong here and the restrictions were very hard and strong and still are so it’s been more difficult to see people. I was lucky enough to not have anyone close to me get really sick. My sister is a doctor and she is 28. She got COVID when it first appeared, but she didn’t have any symptoms so we were all pretty lucky as a family. 

There were many things, I was planning to do that I wasn’t able to do. First of all, I was planning on coming back to Indy last summer and I wasn’t able to. That is something that I really still want to do as soon as I can. It was really disappointing because I couldn’t. Another thing was my 18th birthday. Here the 18th birthday is an important time because you become an adult and I couldn’t celebrate with my friends because we were under a lockdown so that was very sad and disappointing. And in general there are many things here that you do for your senior year that we weren’t able to do so that was very disappointing. Also here at the end of your senior year, there is a very big and hard test you have to take and it is hard to prepare for this being stuck at home so it is very stressful. 

At the beginning, I was positive because I didn’t think we would lose much time which we did, but we didn’t know at the time. I like to see the glass half-full to see the best in everything even in this situation. I have more time to spend with my family because in my normal life I would spend my day outside the house and my parents would go to work so it was way less time together. This was a good opportunity to spend time with them, to prepare my applications for colleges, and in general dedicate more time to myself and my passions so I’m trying to see this as an opportunity and get the best I can from every situation.

There’s so many things I want to do when this is over or at least better. I want to start traveling again because it’s something that I really miss. Because here everything is closer, I’m guessing we are more used to traveling around Italy. I travel a lot and I miss that. I miss bigger trips in Europe and even in America. I also miss the smallest things like seeing friends without being scared or going out to restaurants. Here restaurants have been closed for more than six months. I just miss enjoying a dinner out with friends and even going to school. I miss my social life and celebrating with people, going to museums. Milan is such a new and young city with many opportunities and right now it is like dead. I am so sad to see this land that I love looking this way especially because I just moved to the city center. I just wish I could try all things the city has to offer so that’s definitely something I want to do when this gets better.


Sophomore Mara Welty

A lot of things in my life have been affected by COVID-19. I realized it was more serious than I expected when I found out that the entire robotics season had been cancelled during R8 last year. I was devastated, but also confused since all my teachers were telling me that COVID-19 wasn’t very serious. Hours later, we found out that school had been cancelled for a while. It all happened so fast. The weekend before I was at a robotics competition, and we learned that there was a COVID-19 case in Indiana. The only precaution was not to shake hands or share safety glasses. My reaction is a lot different now that I know how severe the virus is. I understand why everything was cancelled, but I’m still disappointed that I missed robotics, orchestra performances, and summer programs. Some ways that I have stayed positive are by making art, doing yoga, and reading. I am excited to get vaccinated so I can be less afraid of spreading the virus to someone vulnerable. Although COVID-19 has been terrible, some positive things have come out of it.


Paul Legge, McKenzie PLTW Biomed teacher

My family was supposed to travel to Australia and Hawaii last summer, a trip we’ve been saving for and planning for ten years. We will still go in 2022, so the trip was merely postponed. What we can’t ever get back is missing out on spending the holidays with family this year. I experienced FOMO for the first time ever while seeing all the pictures on social media of other families getting together! However, what happened to teachers and students has been the hardest part of this pandemic. After 27 years of perfecting my game in a “normal” classroom, I couldn’t have imagined how much time and effort it takes to create structure and meaning in online courses. I never would have predicted how many students would react poorly to Zoom, virtual activities, and self-directed learning. Some of us are adapting, but some of us are not, and that is a crushing blow to any teacher’s morale. I work with an awesome team of biomed teachers who inspire one another to do our best and support one another no matter what. My students are wonderful people who surprise me every day with a smile, a gem of wisdom, or a quiet act of resilience. I know they will be stronger from this experience and their lives are about to get a whole lot better, and that’s the energy I try to bring to class every day. This pandemic has helped leaders and the public see the deep-seeded issues in education we’ve known about for a long time. Maybe now we will evolve more quickly to address problems with educational equity and how we “do” school in the first place. Now that we have a much better understanding of the virus, I feel more in control. I understand ways to manage risks for getting exposed and spreading the virus, so I feel far less powerless.


Wendy Hamann, Peer Tutoring teacher

My initial reaction was ‘Oh Dear it’s finally here’. I remember the images of the man that pulled up at Community North and everybody came out in a hazmat suit to meet him and how scary it was that there was this one person that was right in Marion County. For me it really also hit me a week or two before because I live in Brownsburg, and Avon which is right next to Brownsburg was the first school in the state of Indiana to close down because of COVID. I remember thinking then oh this is real, this is going to happen to me. This isn’t somethings that’s in New York City, its gonna come here.

I’ve been surprised about school. I honest to goodness thought when we came back to school in the fall I was like we’re not gonna make it to labor day or fall break, there’s no way. So I have been really relieved about that. I did not think we would get vaccines. Honest to gosh last summer I didn’t think my parents would make it. I really thought they would get sick. So the fact that a year later my parents have gotten both of their doses and by time I get my first shot I was thinking does this mean for Mothers’ Day we could actually be together and I have not seen or hugged my parents in a year and I can’t even believe that’s where we are.

I think one of the things that I’ve been disappointed and shocked by is that I think across our country has really revealed a tendency for many people to be very selfish. The idea that wearing a mask is an inconvenience to you instead of thinking of it as helping to protect other people. The idea that you know our family sacrificed and chose not to be with family for celebrations and then other people were like you can’t tell me I can’t be with my family at Christmas and you know we had friends just last month where two people out of a family went and visited an elderly family member in Florida and they thought they just had a cold but they had a fever and they went ahead and visited this elderly person and that elderly person got COVID-19 and died. And that has been so in my face and i don’t struggle with having compassion and I’m someone you know i try to look at that side and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. That is something that I struggle with very much with this idea of the real gap in people feeling like they can’t offer kindness and consideration. Now there’s that but at the same time there’s a flip side and there’s been other stories of oh my gosh people are so loving and compassionate. For whatever reason when you ask me that one thing I’ve gotten out of this is I’m struck at people’s tendency to be selfish.

I’m an introvert and so there are some components of my life where there hasn’t been a huge adjustment, right? Because I’m fine with being by myself. I’m super grateful while my family we have got more together time than we ever thought we would but we got more together time than we ever thought we would and I think that’s been something to just be grateful for the smallest of things and I thought I was one that was always mindful of that but I don’t think I was as much as I should have been.

Last year we had a Disney trip planned, we had a trip for spring break where we were going to go to New York and we had theater tickets. We cancelled all of that and we have not traveled since and typically we try to do maybe one or two family trips a year. So we haven’t done any of that. We did not see any family Thanksgiving or Christmas, no birthdays since this happened, we haven’t gone out to eat at all and I can probably count on one hand how many times we’ve even gotten taken out. We did a family walk over the weekend and I was like okay so soon as all of this gets settled and Broadway goes back we have our New York trip right and my husband was like yes and I was like and Disney too and he was like okay and then i was like what about this and he was like okay now we have to figure out how we can pay for all of these trips but i am definitely looking forward to traveling.


Senior Naomi Baker

Initially I was somewhat happy to have a break off of school so because at that point I was feeling very stressed out about school so I was relieved to be able to just relax and stay at home. Now I feel almost completely opposite. I just want my life to go back to normal and not have to stress about wearing a mask and protecting myself from COVID. I miss just being able to go out and do whatever I want without having to worry so much.  I would say that my life hasn’t changed too much aside from having to change certain things because of COVID-19. I would say my mental health has been directly affected by the pandemic. I’ve struggled with having no motivation and just feeling very depressed about life not being the same and having to be stuck in the house.

Last year we weren’t able to have prom which was very disappointing to me because going to school dances is one of my favorite things in high school. I also feel like I was somewhat robbed of my senior year because we haven’t been able to really participate in as many of the traditional activities. I do feel like over quarantine I was really able to connect more with my family and be able to spend more time with them. I felt like life just took a break for a couple months and everyone was able to rest and relax. I am really looking forward to college next year and hopefully being able to experience my first year fully without as many restrictions.


Sophomore Maylin Andrade-Saracayo

When I first got the news, like every school kid, I was excited because I didn’t have to go to school. Over time it became exhausting to go without any human interaction whatsoever, and it’s difficult to stay motivated without seeing my friends. Over quarantine, I became more mentally unstable, but my communication skills advanced over time because I had to figure out how to talk to people without seeing them. I learned to value my time and time with my friends. Fortunately, I really don’t mind staying inside because I like being at home. However, it’s made me feel frustrated and upset because of people not following the mask mandate. Some people are elongating COVID by not caring about the people around them, which makes me incredibly angry. I didn’t get to have my quinceanera. I was supposed to have a big party with family, friends, dancing, and food. But because of COVID, I was unable to have it. But nonetheless, I still got to have a small celebration with the ones that I love. 

I’ve also been working on getting picked for a program that allows me to study abroad. I am planning on traveling to South Korea. They’re monitoring the conditions of other countries to make sure they are safe for us to travel there. Kids are required to quarantine for their host families before they proceed with the activities that need to be done. Based on news that I’ve heard, South Korea takes COVID more seriously. They quarantine for two weeks and have apps to keep track of body temperature. They don’t have to do much social distancing because they took it seriously. Everyone follows the rules, so I’m assuming it’ll honestly be a lot safer than America. As well as being excited for this, I’m excited for amusement parks after this is over. I want to be able to have family reunions, and dance, which is a big part of my culture. Thankfully, throughout quarantine I got to fall in love with new activities and grow as a person. I’ve gotten to learn a lot about myself, which has helped me get through this hard time.


Sara Stevens, science teacher

When I got the news about COVID, my initial feeling was slightly worried but it seemed that everyone was taking it seriously and I, like many, thought it would just last a couple weeks. Throughout the year, however,  I became disappointed in seeing the way grown adults fought about science and wearing masks. Things are so different this year than I thought they would be. I thought we’d be back to normal by now but we are still working on controlling this virus while seeing the death count raise above 500,000. It has changed a lot! Besides becoming pregnant with my second kid, I’ve had to restructure the way I find enjoyment in life. Whereas before I loved hanging out with friends, going to trivia nights or escape rooms, I now find joy in simple walks around the neighborhood or watching a movie with my husband and son. It’s fun, but I do miss the old things I used to do. 

Being pregnant has upped the COVID precautions for me. Because statistically pregnant people are more likely to end up hospitalized during COVID. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to avoid a dangerous situation. I haven’t been inside a restaurant in ages, I avoid people who I know don’t take COVID seriously, and I have had to put restrictions on who can come see the baby when he’s born based on who is vaccinated. Being pregnant during a pandemic has mostly made me angry that people don’t realize the simple things like wearing masks and getting the vaccine are for protecting others, such as a newborn helpless baby. As far as the rules of COVID, the hardest thing was my husband not being allowed at my 20 week ultrasound where I got to see the baby and check their health. Not only did he miss seeing him, but if there had been anything wrong with my baby discovered that day, I would have been all alone at the hospital to hear the news. We also won’t be allowed any visitors at the hospital this time around so my parents have to wait to meet their grandson until we get home. Prepping for baby number two has helped me stay busy and look forward to the future during quarantine. 

I have now gotten my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I was lucky enough to get it through a waitlist right before the state told places to stop letting teachers get it through the waitlist. I get my second dose during spring break and will be fully immunized the day before my due date! After this is over, I’m looking forward to going out to eat with my husband and fun outings with friends. It’s going to be great to see extended family that I haven’t seen in over a year.


Connie Sivertson, counselor

I was standing in my office with several other people on Thursday, March 12th, discussing the huge news of cancellations around the country as a result of COVID.  As we stood there chatting, news came that LT was going to be closed on Friday and we were told to take home anything we needed.  Assuming we would likely be out through the end of Spring Break, and feeling astonished by that…I packed up a few things and went home, fully intending to return to school.  Obviously, that did not happen.  Decisions were made to keep things closed across the state for April and May…that’s unprecedented and told the story of the danger of this virus.  There were so many people connected to LN who were impacted by COVID…we lost members of our LN family and had so many sickened.  COVID was real…scary…and big enough to bring our world to a near standstill. The shock of last March 12th has turned to resignation.  Seeing the huge peak in infections, hospitalizations and deaths makes it clear steps are necessary to protect as many as possible from contracting the virus.  The delay of school in August and the adjustment to hybrid and virtual schedules reinforce, we continue to adapt to outwit that pesky virus.  Our lives have been impacted in ways I truly would NEVER have thought possible on March 12th

Do you remember the first day you wore a mask?  I do.  I had to go to Sam’s Club to pick up several items and felt so silly tying on a mask before entering the store.  I had seen others wearing masks, but didn’t have access to one.  My sister-in-law sewed cloth masks for all of us and when they arrived, we began wearing them as advised.  What was initially so uncomfortable and unusual is now as common a practice as brushing teeth or putting on a coat to go in the cold.  The world is different with many people masked, social distance in effect and attention paid to interactions with others.  We don’t shake hands any more…I would have NEVER thought it would happen and yet, here we are and we are A-O-K!  Humans are highly adaptable and we’ll continue to navigate our way through all of this, caring for ourselves and others.

Gatherings with friends and families were dramatically changed and I miss those opportunities to be together.  My sister has spent every Christmas with us since 1997 (minus 1) and could not travel this year as a result of her health issues and fear of boarding a plane in the midst of COVID.  We all felt that and COVID was very present in our Christmas gathering…it didn’t add to it, it took away. We love to travel and go as often as we can.  COVID has restricted so much and I miss the ability to jump on a plane or get in the car and head to a destination with no care, no worries, no issues.  I’m eager for the return of cruises that feel safe and planes that are not crowded with potential COVID carriers.

Gratitude for so many things.  Healthcare workers…they jumped in when so little was known and at risk to themselves, cared for so many and became the compassionate presence at the end of life.  That floors me…just WOW.  It’s hard to be too grateful for all that has been done by first responders, healthcare professionals, researchers, etc. Gratitude for camaraderie…having a group of friends and coworkers supporting and encouraging others when things are difficult and scary makes a world of difference.

Being on lockdown provided time with my family that would not have occurred without an inability to get out and about.  We played more Yahtzee and Catan than we’ve EVER played, laughing, talking, being present with each other.  I will forever treasure that family time.

I’ve had my first vaccination and am scheduled for my second.  Getting the vaccine makes me truly feel like there is hope for a more “normal” lifestyle again. I think schools will see long-lasting changes as a result of COVID, I’m eager to have all students back in the building with staff members vaccinated, students vaccinated and the ability to be carefree return to the school setting. Mental health has made itself known during the pandemic and if this is what it takes to bring awareness to the issues of depression, anxiety, isolation, substance-use…we will all benefit.  I want to keep the light shining brightly on the challenges of mental health issues, in particular, as we begin to come through the impacts of the pandemic.  Be KIND.  Be PATIENT.  Hold judgement.  Reach out to someone and take a risk to connect.  What a different world this will be for all of us if even a bit of what we’ve learned about the importance of mental health and wellness carries forward after we return to “normal”.


Sophomore John McCarty

My initial reaction to the news was shock. I remember seeing an early news article months before on an “unknown virus” killing two in Asia, but I thought it was for nothing. For the first few months I didn’t think that it was that bad, but I quickly saw how bad it truly was. Although, the world truly isn’t that different. I just feel like we are all more conscious about health and safety then we used to be.

I’ve been disappointed many times due to COVID-19. A big class trip was canceled and pushed back a year, and I had to cancel on my best friend in the summer when it was really bad. I’ve also been disappointed by Donald Trump’s reaction to COVID-19, and I feel like if he actually tried the impact it had on the United States could’ve been heavily mitigated. 

The positive thing that has helped me is mainly video games. They help me connect and are very fun to play when you have nothing else to do.

I have not been vaccinated as I am (most likely) in the last group to get vaccinated. I am excited because I have asthma, so this vaccine could potentially save my lung by protecting me from getting COVID-19. I am looking forward to being able to go on trips that I want to and not have to worry about losing my mask. Although I don’t think my life will change much once COVID-19 is hopefully contained.


Patti Means, reception assistant

I believe that the initial reaction was the fact that I was scared, and that it was serious, for them to shut down school, COMPLETELY. It would mean that there, evidently is getting to the point where this virus is strong enough where it is causing kids to miss out on their education. At that point I was scared, because for them to shut the school doors down, that is serious. Considering that we are still into it a year later, that just goes to show how serious it was and still is. We aren’t closed, thankfully, but we are still dealing with this, and that just shows you how deep COVID-19 has been. 

Because my own son is a student here at Lawrence North, and I knew that if I wanted the best for him, I also wanted the same for the rest of our student body here at Lawrence North, considering his feelings, as well as our entire student body. Trying to keep them safe, because not only was I scared, but parents also were worried and concerned. So any call that we took, we tried to lower that feeling of not knowing, that feeling of insecurity with the parent, just trying to let them know that we are doing what we can to keep from endangering their children. Really trying to keep this ‘thing’ at a minimum within our building, and as a district as well. Everybody is having to do their part, and thankfully we have worked really well together, in trying to make sure that we are doing what we are supposed to do, to keep from endangering our kids.


Sophomore Deshawn Ntamere

When I first heard that we wouldn’t have to go to school, I was really excited. I didn’t really understand the situation that we were in. As time passed, I’ve become more wary of where I go and who I come into contact with. You don’t realize how big of a problem it is until someone you know is affected by it. I thought it would be a lot more enjoyable to be able to stay home everyday. Now, it’s hard to keep up with social interactions. The switch to virtual learning made it harder to pay attention in class and fully understand the material.There are a lot more distractions that come with doing work at home. I have to balance my physical activities and my academics a lot more than I used to. Overall, it’s changed a lot more than I thought would. It’s hard not being able to see my friends in person everyday and the lack of social interaction definitely takes a toll on my mental stability. I was really disappointed that last year’s track season was cancelled, but there’s not much else they could’ve done. I don’t really go outside if it isn’t necessary. At home, I’ve been giving myself more work to do or finding shows to watch. When this is over, I want to be able to return back to normal and not be held back by anything. I’ve got to keep focused and move forward if I ever want to go back to the way things were before. I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends or going out to eat again. I have had a lot of opportunities to visit colleges that now because of quarantine I don’t have.


Christina Hoepner, Admissions director at Northwest Healthcare

My initial reaction was shock and fear. I think we have just become accustomed to it to some extent. Wow, the world is different; I don’t think anyone would have thought they would have experienced this. This has definitely made us be thankful and grateful for the ones we love. My life has changed immensely over the past year. School was cancelled, sports were altered, no concerts, no movies, etc. But one of the most important things for me was that I couldn’t attend my graduation. It was online only. At  46, you go back to school to get a degree in Healthcare management and don’t get to attend your own graduation. That was very disappointing. And to lose residents and be literally in the middle of a pandemic; it really affects you mentally. First of all, my family and friends have helped me keep moving. But also knowing that my love for healthcare outweighs the negative. I have gotten vaccinated. The first shot was no problem. The second shot made my arm really sore, red, and swollen, and I had flu-like symptoms the following day, but it only lasted the day after the shot. To be honest, I was unsure if I was going to get it, but I talked to doctors and nurses and finally decided that it would benefit me to do it especially because I work with the elderly. 


Senior Alicia Kingsberry

I was really scared at first because the news made it seem like it was just going to wipe out everyone and we had just learned about the Spanish Flu in the 1920’s so that made it a little more frightening. I have adjusted to life in a pandemic. I’m not scared anymore, just cautious. I had hope in the beginning of the outbreak that it would be over by summer time. We know how that turned out. So then I started to really worry, I thought it was going to be the end of the world. Especially since people were going buck wild in the grocery stores and they were becoming empty. I thought a Purge was going to happen honestly. But the world has calmed down and is taking cautions to decrease the virus and there is hope again for the end of this pandemic. Tremendously different, it put a pause on life as I knew it and gave me time to reflect and slow down. I have gotten closer with family, we went on more walks, just talked more, built stronger relationships and truly got to know the people I was living with, haha. I learned a ton about myself and others. I learned a ton of life lessons and skills, like how to start holding stocks, how to be patient with myself and others(still working on it) and how to do box braids. The most important thing that changed was I started my true walk with God. So I’m glad the world had to pause, just not under the circumstances it did. If you asked me about 10 months ago I would have given you a list of things that I was disappointed with. Now I know things really do happen for a reason, we may not know why in that moment but one day we will. And not everything and everyone is meant to be in your life forever, they have a season. Let them serve their purpose, and don’t keep holding on! Doing senior activities like the one game with the water guns, a packed student section for football games and pep rallies. Besides school I was looking forward to hangouts with friends and my trip to Greece. Make everybody kind, caring, respectful, understanding and loving to themselves and to everyone else. That would solve all the world’s problems. Yes all of them. God, knowing that no matter what He has my back, cause He made it, ha. And knowing if I keep going in His path that one day He will say “Well done.” (Brings me joy just thinking about it) My family, they are truly amazing and they mean so much to me. And the many positive Instagram accounts including the company “We aren’t Really Strangers”, you should check them out. Connecting with people in person, I missed that a lot. Going to concerts, trips and not wearing a mask in public. Lastly is to have a true school experience.


Deonte Singfield, social studies teacher

I was saddened by hearing about the pandemic and its impact on people all across the world. Over this past year, I have found that my approach to life has drastically changed. I used to be a very rigid and structured person. I feel like the pandemic has encouraged me to be a more understanding and flexible person.Life has become much more unpredictable, and I have found myself slowing down and reflecting more and more. I’m used to moving at a fast pace and travelling a ton, but the pandemic has changed that in a major way. Traveling to see family, going to sporting events and having large gatherings with family/friends have been affected during COVID which was hard. LN’s traditional graduation was cancelled. Last year was special because it was the first group of students I taught at LN. Just enjoying life with family and loved ones is something that keeps me going through a hard day. I haven’t received a vaccine yet, but I plan on scheduling and receiving one this month. Just the normalcy and sense of routine is what I’m looking forward to.


Junior Jaden Freeney

At first I was happy that school was out. Then I started not to like being in the house every single day doing the same things over and over again. At first I thought nothing would change but I was wrong and a lot of stuff is different. Life really hasn’t changed that much. I’m just a little more cautious wherever I go now.Football was affected by it because we have workouts year around and when it got shut down we had to stop working out. I can’t go out and do things like how we used to and the masks get annoying. Our off-season workouts and the cruise that me and my mom were gonna go on got cancelled and I was mad.I wish I could’ve gone on the cruise and had a new experience. Football season kept me going cause when everything was shut down I lost all motivation to work or do anything. No, I haven’t been vaccinated. I don’t wanna get the vaccine right now because I wanna let everything get worked out before so there aren’t any side effects. Most of all I look forward to having no restriction whenever I go places.


Junior Carly Toussant

I think there was a week or two where I was aware of [COVID-19] pre-lockdown where I didn’t know what to make of it. I couldn’t see the effects of it yet and so I wasn’t planning on making any life changes. It seemed like something distant. It became clear pretty immediately that [lockdown] was the right choice, but it was definitely hard mentally and academically. However, I never doubted that it was the right thing to do. It was extremely draining for my mental health and just generally not good. I’ve been lucky enough to not get it, neither has my immediate family. But between friends and family we haven’t been untouched. It’s only been recently that I’ve felt comfortable seeing friends again, and I’m still not as active as I used to be. More than anything it’s made the day to day hard. My mental health took a big hit and it didn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed with school and current events. I’ve been doing better lately but it’s an ongoing process. I’ve had to learn how to cope in new ways and I’ve had to learn a lot more time management, but more than that self forgiveness. I can’t wait to get vaccinated above all else. And my birthday is this summer and I’d love to see friends and get to have a party for my 18th.


Tara Blackstone, IT project manager for Ascension

I first heard about COVID on the news when they were talking about it in China.  I wasn’t too worried at first because I never thought it would be something we’d have to deal with or it wouldn’t impact us this bad. I thought it was like a version of the flu, chicken pox, or measles. When the world was locked down, I didn’t have much time to think about it because, working in Healthcare I was so busy I didn’t have time to think. I was working 7 days a week 16 hours a day to get hospitals in Indiana set up for the influx of patients.  When I did think about it I thought it would be a minor inconvenience for one or 2 weeks tops. My biggest concerns were my husband bringing the virus home to us. The kids and I were quarantined in the house,  but he still had to be in public everyday because his job was deemed essential.  I was also concerned about how I was supposed to do my paying job and be a “teacher” with 2 kids doing virtual learning full time. Now, my biggest concern is for my parents. They are elderly and live in a tourism area. The city where they live has been receiving above normal tourists since last fall when states began lifting restrictions. I’m concerned with them catching the virus because so many people are putting their own wants above the safety of others. I’m also concerned for my children when it comes to their education. As a whole students are behind and because schools have had to adjust the curriculum and modify learning to work for at home and in person and they keep making excuses for not trying to make up what they lost.

COVID has actually affected me personally mostly positively.  I went from working in an office to working from home.  This change helped me save money by not eating out, not having to pay for before and after school care because I can take the kids to school and pick them up because I’m not having to spend extra time in the office or on the roads. Because of that extra time I’ve also been able to make healthy lifestyle changes being able to work out and make healthy foods at home.  Since the start of COVID, I’ve lost 35 pounds because of these changes I was able to make, which I would not have if I still had to work in an office 30 min from home. With the money I saved not eating out, shopping, going to events, taking a vacation, and money on gas I paid off several thousand dollars in debt. To stay positive, I remind myself that every generation before has had their own COVID. Maybe not a pandemic, but wars, the depression, etc. I tell myself it will get better and in the grand scheme of life it is a small bump in the road.


Senior Paige DeFord

I kind of already had a feeling before because my Dad was always talking about it. Then when they announced that it was only going to be two weeks I was like “Ok I can do this, it’s only two weeks.” But then my Dad was like “No, you’re not going back.” So, he kind of prepared me for everything that was going to happen.

I think shutdown was definitely necessary since we had a big outbreak and I feel like if we didn’t shutdown it could have been a lot worse. Now we finally got a hold of it and everything seems like it’s going downwards and like now would be the best time for everyone to come back because we only have like a month or two of school left. If something happens we can always go back to being hybrid.

I didn’t think at this point we’d still be having all of these restrictions. I get the whole mask thing like that’s going to still be a thing but I feel like at this point there are more things we could be doing like going to movie theaters. But honestly my life hasn’t changed much because I didn’t feel like I missed out on much except for my track season last year. This year I’ve had my cross country season and hopefully I’ll have my track season this year. 

The thing I miss though is my church always has this big summer camp thing called Awestruck and they cancelled it last year because of COVID and we’re also not having one this year. That’s one of the biggest things I miss having oh and also like my job because I work in a restaurant. So, for a while we didn’t have anybody working. I would maybe work twice a week and go in and fold boxes for maybe 30 minutes and then I’d be gone.


Sophomore Amanda Darwish

Honestly when I found out about this Coronavirus I was really worried about it, parts of me were confident it wasn’t going to reach the U.S. but then it did and it made me even more worried about the U.S. My worryness about the pandemic has actually changed a bit, I’ve felt a sudden excitement with the Coronavirus going down.

 My life has changed so much, nevertheless I’ve changed so much from my freshman self in quarantine to my current sophomore self, I cut my hair, I got a hamster but I’ve gotten more stressed, less motivated to do work, I’ve lost a few of close individuals due to the pandemic but with all of those I’ve gotten much stronger and more independent throughout the pandemic. 

 There are a few events I was looking forward to that the pandemic affected for example my birthday and the musical last year and a few weddings too I was upset when those events had to get cancelled but I knew in the end it was for the good of everybody. Something that’s helped me keep moving is for sure my friends and family, they’re always there for me we’ve all been through this year long pandemic but having then helped me so much and it makes me realize “hey after this is over I get to see my loved ones again”. Lastly, I haven’t gotten the vaccine yet but I am excited to get the vaccine.


Ryan Gregg, Owner of Rackz BBQ

As the owner of a small business there have been many cons and downfalls regarding the pandemic, however COVID-19 has also had some positive consequences for us. In March of 2020 Rackz BBQ was unfortunately on the road to closure as there were a few expected bumps in the road mainly regarding our location. We’re located in a neighborhood which means we often get passed up due to day to day commotion. Since Spring was approaching I decided to pull through in hopes that it would save us, and this is when the pandemic hit. There were about 3 or 4 local organizations that helped spread the word that our restaurant was still open for business around Facebook which reached thousands of people and we quickly picked up a great reputation in the neighborhood. Though we lost all of our catering and our in house dining, our carry out business began to boom and our community began to support us even more. There is no question about how hard things have been for everyone, but personally speaking the pandemic has boosted business in the best way possible.


Junior Taylor Muex 

In all honesty, I didn’t take COVID as seriously as I should have at first. I was very nonchalant at first. I didn’t care about COVID until it personally affected me with the loss of my beloved childhood friend, Andre Guest. His death brought everything into perspective for me. My outlook on COVID was influenced after his death. Afterward, I never forgot my mask, I never left the house without a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and for a while, I even wore gloves at work. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even half of it. This last year has felt like I was on a super-fast roller coaster going every which way. My life wasn’t affected too badly besides Andre’s passing. To be honest, I didn’t go out before COVID, when I did it was probably a birthday party. If anything, I hang with friends and things like that a lot more now than I did. The most disappointing thing that has happened in this past year is not getting my entire high school experience. In a way, junior year was canceled. Something I wish I could have done was be able to start the year in person full-time or virtual full-time. The reason being is that I feel like I’ve missed out on so much because I get two completely different interactions with my teachers. Something positive that’s kept me moving and motivated is staying busy. I started working at Dick’s Sporting Goods for that very reason. No, I haven’t gotten vaccinated. I honestly don’t want to. I don’t know how it will affect me, plus I know it’s going to hurt. I feel like if I’m careful enough, I will be okay. I’ve done everything I wanted to do during COVID (within reason). The only thing I’m looking forward to is being able to see people’s faces. 


Khajonpop Charoenpojana, 2020 LN graduate

I kinda had a neutral reaction, because I didn’t really know much, I just knew thing were getting shut down. And I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like going to school because it was so crowded and I was like “this is a relief, I don’t have to go to school I can do it from home, I don’t have to wake up as early.” So initially it was kind of a more kind of like a positive reaction.

I have been working at a local dry cleaner, so I’m an assistant manager. Basically taking care of day-to-day functions like taking clothing inventory, making sure we have everything in stock. Customer service is a really big part of it. With everyone working from home now, or choosing to work from home more often, we don’t really get as many customers, so we offer incentives like free pickup and delivery, that way people who wear business clothes still get them clean, and so they don’t have to come in and out. There are people who are higher risk, and so I think that really benefits them. We didn’t see people for quite some time because everything was in lockdown, but slowly we started getting more people coming back in, and we are almost back to where we were pre-pandemic. Mandatory face-masking, checking your temperature every day, and keeping a list of close contacts and stuff in case that’s needed.

I think what I missed most, and didn’t realize at the time was seeing friends, and getting out to do things. Missing out on stuff, that really makes a huge difference, and especially when it’s your senior year of high school.

Finding things to do that make me happier, make my life a bit more meaningful. One thing that I’ve learned in the pandemic that I didn’t realize at the beginning was that: I really like helping people, I like making them feel better. So, initially when I went to college I was majoring in CIT, computer information technology, but I think I want to become a nurse practitioner, and so I think I am going to go to school for nursing next semester.


Junior Tyrece Rice

I was lost, I was more confused because I wasn’t with the media a lot, I wasn’t covering Corona as much, so maybe a week before that’s when I started getting into it. I wasn’t really worried… then the news came and I was more disappointed, I was starting my baseball season, and I was disappointed not being able to see my friends and everyone. We’re still fighting through it. A lot has happened with this year, but I wish that we handled it better, I wish that a lot more people took care of themselves and other people around them by wearing a mask and not being so on the opposite side and doing what they want to do, that kind pf made me a little upset, seeing thousands of people die and not everyone is taking it seriously. More disappointed that not everyone is taking it seriously now.

The baseball season, that really had me disappointed because we were a week away from tryouts. So, that was more of a let-down because we were going to have a great season for all three teams: varsity, JV and freshman. And also the boy’s basketball, I feel like we were going to win it all, and that was something that I was disappointed about because I feel like we were playing really good. Also the Spain trip, I know that they still didn’t do as much, but I believe that without Corona we still would have been this summer or last summer, so that was something that I was more disappointed with that it got cancelled.

Me trying to be more healthier, that was a real positive going into Corona, so I have been able to watch what I eat more. I think just seeing other people and social media, just seeing that has made me thrive to become more healthier.

I haven’t really been paying attention to the vaccinations. I need to dig into that more because I think that will be the way to go, but if it has not been great results with the vaccinations then I will not get vaccinated.

[I would like to] travel because I have been home. I have been stuck in Indy for the past year, so maybe just going out when the time is right, I think that would be really nice to do. I just hope that we just go back to normal life, so that it can be easier for everyone, and hopefully one day it just gets better.