Prom? Cancelled. Graduation? Online. High school kids share their worlds with us

Prom?  Cancelled.  Graduation?  Online.  High school kids share their worlds with us

“It’s Friday 5th June and today I left high school off my bench. They showed graduation slides with the graduate’s name, photo and message and I was pretty excited when I finally saw my slide to probably 200 other slides. But my heart dropped when the announcer mispronounced my name, you know, it’s graduation, it’s already disappointing enough that we have a virtual graduation, instead of a personal one, so that my name is misspelled, in addition to me “My whole high school experience summed up by a five-second slide, it was super disappointing. I just don’t feel like I graduated.”

“However, I felt better after picking up my diploma in person. After the diploma training station, we drove through a series of teachers waving and cheering, and it was really amazing.”

Qadir Scott, a senior at Oakland Tech. (Beth LaBerge / KQED)

“This is Qadir Scott. I’m senior at Oakland Tech. A great thing with me, I listen to this group called Bad brains. Something they’re talking about is holding the PMA. It is positive mind and attitude. PMA. Control everything you can control, you know. All the other things will play out, but if you maintain the positive attitude and mindset, you can achieve anything. This is exactly how I think about it now. Make the best of it. As I see it, the class of 2020 is the corona class, COVID-19. We are part of a greater moment in history. ‘

‘I’m going to Morehouse [College] in the fall. I’m excited about it. But I’m pretty sure going to do the first month or two of online school. I do not really know how to feel about it. It’s quite a struggle because you just want to jump right into your university experience. But it can make it easier, who knows. I just play it over and try to keep a positive attitude again. ”

Qadir Scott, a senior at Oakland Tech, in Alameda on April 6, 2020.
Qadir’s mantra ‘positive, mind, attitude’ helped him stay positive during shelter. He also tries to climb out and skateboard if he can.

“It’s Saturday, June 6. There was a lot going on. After George Floyd’s death, there was a lot of civil unrest, a lot of protests. I’ve protested several times already. I’m glad to see so many people. Friends, family, anyone, everyone, all races, all genders. Everyone is out here. Pandemic is going on, people are being shot and killed left and right. Even at these protests, like people protesting peacefully, they are being stopped by the police When I was growing up in an activist household, my mother and my grandmother and the people I was surrounded by, I was quite educated on the subject and understood how systematic oppression works.

You know, it’s crazy, honestly, it’s time. I think this is the super big change where racism just doesn’t exist anymore? No. But it is definitely a step in the right direction. ‘

Julisa Gomez Reyes, a high school junior, on April 6 at her home in San Jose.
Julisa Gomez Reyes, a junior high school student, at her home in San Jose on April 6, 2020.

‘My name is Julisa Gomez Reyes. I’m a junior at Independence High School in San Jose. I miss school. I miss my friends. I miss my teachers. I miss the classroom. And this is something I never thought I would say. ‘


‘My sleep schedule is very bad at the moment. I am awake and at night I sleep. And I try to fix that, especially with my family, we all do. My mom does not have a job and we just do not want to do anything because I do not know, we can not go out and we are usually a quiet family, so it is very difficult to get something done. ”

Julisa Gomez Reyes, a high school boy, is studying in her backyard.
Julisa misses the school, her friends and volunteering at a local non-profit education. She says it’s hard to stay motivated when she’s at home all the time. (Beth LaBerge / KQED)

‘My little sister and I were badly affected by [my parents] fight. It made us struggle with anxiety, which in my opinion does not occur in it. ‘

“Every time they fight, I treat them like children, because that’s what they look like. I’m the only one who acts like an adult. I just want it all to end. And it’s harder to get into this pandemic. “Because we are at home 24/7. Without this pandemic, I can go to school and get my mind out of it for a while.”

“My AP experience was not really good. For my first exam, it was right after my parents’ struggle and I was distracted because they were in the same room together. It made me really uncomfortable and I could not focus. For me second AP exam, my laptop stopped working, for some reason my laptop is doing this thing where it automatically disconnects from the internet, so I could not go to the second question.

This year has not been a good year for me yet. ‘

Genevieve Schweitzer, a junior in high school, will play the flute in her backyard on April 6, 2020.
Genevieve Schweitzer, a junior in high school, will play the flute in her backyard on April 6, 2020.

‘My name is Genevieve Schweitzer. I’m a junior at El Cerrito High School and I’m fine. I just miss my friends and do normal things. It’s day eight. I sit on my bed, basically in the position I was in all day. I just think of all the things that have been canceled. Like concerts and trips to Disneyland with my group we planned, and prom. I already have my prom dress and it just hangs in my closet and looks sad. But there are definitely worse things going on, so I do not feel I can complain too much. ‘

‘I just got back from school. They opened it for one afternoon so we could pick up our stuff at our lockers and look at textbooks and things like that. There was a security guard in front with hand sanitizer and wipes, and you had to tell them where you were going and why. I did not expect it to feel so sad to see the school so empty and to be back. I had all my last day as a junior in high school. And when I come back, I’m going to be a senior. ”

Genevieve Schweitzer and her sister, Julia, study in their backyard.
Genevieve Schweitzer (right), a high school junior, and her sister, Julia (left), are studying Spanish in their backyard. (Beth LaBerge / KQED)

“So it’s Monday, April 27th. And that means it’s the beginning of my seventh week in self-isolation. When I thought back, I started all this feeling almost excitedly, as if it was an adventure. I was quite curious to see how distance learning would work. I do not think I understood how dangerous the coronavirus really was. But then time passed, and as more and more restrictions were placed on us. And the length continued to lengthen. And soon we were out school until and we have heard all these scary stories about the virus destroying communities.And now I would say that it is much more genuine.And I also feel that I have lost my motivation compared to the beginning of all these things. “I sleep more and I go to bed later. I postpone my work, and I feel like I spend less time outside and more time in my room.”

“It’s Monday 11 May, and that means AP tests start this week. My first one is tomorrow and I feel a little nervous. I think I’ll feel ten times more confident if it’s just the usual format of the test. There is so much unknown and a lot that can go wrong with the upload process. “

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