The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Breaking News
  • February 15Enjoy the Long Weekend!
The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The “Covid Class” of 2024: A lasting divide

The dynamic of the Class of 2024 is not like any other class. Personalities disguised with masks and conversations muffled by social distancing, it is clear that the Class of 2024 entered highschool with a great social detriment, and a peculiar one at that. Growing from adolescence to young adulthood, the transition between middle school and highschool signifies more than just a difference in rigor, yet a shift in maturity.

   As Senior Class Representative Nalani Hill ‘24 explained, “Freshman year is a crucial year to be socializing with people and meeting new friends, because in your eyes, you’re entering a space that is filled with ‘strangers.” For many, it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in new experiences, try new activities, and form lasting bonds. Yet, for the Class of 2024, the allure of these experiences was dampened by the constraints of the pandemic.

    Quite a few policies were put into place to accommodate the safety concerns of the pandemic, including arrows pasted on hallways to direct student flow, one-on-one tables throughout student union placed at least 6-feet apart, monitors to ensure that the Student Union was used as a space to eat and not merely socialization, and paper plates, plastic cups and boxed salads to avoid any chances of cross-contamination. Finally, the mask rule was one of the most influential towards the way in which students perceived each other for the first time. 

    Esti Rosenblatt ‘24 reflected, “More than a mask, it felt like a social barrier. It almost felt as though socializing was discouraged, which makes sense because at the time it was dangerous to be in a large group of people.” 

    Senior Class President Yaseen Primus ‘24 shared his unique experience joining the class as a transfer student, saying, “One of the things I noticed is that I found myself hanging out with students in the classes above us, as my own classmates didn’t really mingle amongst each other.” Primus continued, “by having COVID-19 freshman year, we realized that we didn’t actually have to talk to each other.” 

    On the other hand, the “Covid Class” experience varied greatly for students overseas. Angela Zhang ‘24, an international student from China, faced additional hurdles in navigating social integration amidst the pandemic. She shared, “Coming on campus after everybody had already met, it was hard to really find a friend group because it felt like I was trying to ‘fit into’ one rather than be a part of one.” She continued, “I really could only connect with the students in my advisory, because they were the only people I could talk to as people rather than merely classmates.” Angela’s experience highlights the isolation felt by many international students, whose opportunities for connection were further limited by the shift to virtual learning.

    All School President Jerry Ren ‘24 vividly recalled the sense of detachment and disorientation while navigating Zoom classes. “I felt like I was locked in a screen. All I saw was the white board, and I was trying to imagine what was going on in the classroom based on the surrounding sounds…It was like living in a mental fog.” As the transition to hybrid classes ensued, Ren noted a significant shift in divisions. “After two weeks, my connection with the local students was almost completely cut off as we transitioned into hybrid classes where I took classes with strictly international kids.”

    Primus described the abnormal dynamic this fostered, saying “The class of 2024 is definitely one of the most divided classes…it’s not that we hate each other or don’t like each other, it’s that we don’t know each other.” Through these profound shifts, the Class of 2024 grappled with the ramifications of the Covid policies, finding themselves navigating unprecedented divisions and isolation. Primus continued, “We were already so isolated, we just grew in those cliques that we already formed.” The Student Union, once a bustling hub of social interaction, became a visual manifestation of these divisions. “I remember the first time I stepped into the LFA cafeteria, I saw a cafeteria that was stratified by friend groups through lunch tables, and that was kinda the phenomenon in our grade,” Ren explained.

    As we stand on the brink of graduation, the sentiments shared by members of the Class of 2024 resonate deeply. Despite the divisions that may have emerged throughout our high school journey, there is a profound recognition of the value in our shared experiences. Through the challenges of the pandemic, we have cultivated a unique bond within the connections we’ve forged.

    As Hill highlighted, “Now that we’re seniors, we have a greater appreciation for our time with each other.” Far from being antisocial, our class embodies a sense of independence and resilience, qualities that have been honed through the obstacles we’ve faced together. As we prepare to embark on new journeys beyond the school gates, it is this shared background that will serve as a unifying force, binding us together in the alumni years to come.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *