Home Community and Culture A new academic year starts under a pandemic, high schoolers adjust

A new academic year starts under a pandemic, high schoolers adjust

High school students across Southern California are adjusting to pandemic-imposed regulations as the new school year begins.  

Torrance, California

Sisters Emma and Olivia Crump began school August 26 at West High School in Torrance, California. The first three days were for introductions and a chance to grasp the technology. 

At West High, the teachers use Zoom or Google Meet. The girls check their schedule between classes to make sure they login to the correct platform. 

Emma and Olivia also have a brother, Turner. The three are triplets, with two teachers who are parents. The family lives in Torrance, only a block away from the high school.With five sets of classes to teach and attend, the family had to spend some time figuring out who would work where. The Crump’s parents are fortunate enough to teach from their actual classrooms. Olivia and Turner took to working in their bedrooms and Emma, who shares a room with Olivia, works in the kitchen.  

Emma and Olivia created a club their sophomore year of high school called “The Women of West.” The club centralizes on female empowerment and feminist thought. For their senior year, Emma is the president, with Olivia as her vice president. 

Even though they can’t participate in their normal club rush this year, the girls plan to grow the social media page for the Women of West by posting infographics and featuring guest speakers on the page.  

The last event the girls held before the lockdown was a feminine hygiene drive in March. After receiving a good number of donations, the stay-at-home mandate took effect and the drive was put on hold. The donations currently sit in the girls’ garage. Once it’s safe, Olivia plans to give it to a company called I Support the Girls

Additionally, the girls are highly involved in the high school cross country team. The school postponed their season until January, which normally begins at the start of the school year. 

“The hardest part about quarantine and online school is finding the motivation to run,” says Emma. “You’re not having anyone forcing you to do it.” 

The girls have been doing online workouts with their running coaches, but noted that it can be chaotic because there are so many other girls on the team. 

Another loss due to the pandemic was the opportunity to write their college application essays before the summer. Normally the juniors at West High are given the opportunity to complete an essay in class with guidance from their teachers before the end of the year. 

Most kids at West High don’t have private college counseling and rely on the school to help them through the college application process. However,the seniors are just now beginning to work on those college essays. Likewise, the school normally holds a college meeting to help their students navigate the application process and financial aid. The school has yet to announce how they will replace this service. 

“A lot of the kids in our grade are just [going] to community college,” says Olivia. “That’s what we’ve been thinking too.”

Olivia and Emma believe that it would be beneficial financially to go to a two-year college in order to save and then an out-of-state university later. 

Los Alamitos, California

Los Alamitos High School, 20 miles south from West High School, intends to go back to in-person classes in September. 

Miranda Karmos, a junior at Los Alamitos, does not mind the online school. Karmos said her teachers have been patient and compassionate with technical difficulties. 

“I get to work at my own pace,” says Karmos. “I get to do things on my own time.”

Karmos is involved in the school’s dance program. Her dance teacher, Mrs. Jones, intends for the students to dance on the screen as the semester progresses. 

“She will make us do regular dance in front of a screen,” Karmos said. “It is kind of weird.” 

Los Alamitos is using Google Meet exclusively this semester. Karmos believes her hardest class to adapt to online will be level four honors Spanish. 

“It is more difficult to communicate with other people via Google,” says Karmos. “Sometimes there’s technical difficulties and since [the teacher] doesn’t speak in English, it is hard to understand.”  

The Los Alamitos junior is looking forward to AP Psychology the most in the rest of the school year. Even through a screen, her teacher is making a good impression.

“I’m excited about AP Psychology because it seems really interesting,” says Karmos. “It’s different and the teacher seems really nice.” 

Sophia Rose Ungaro
Sophia Rose Ungaro is Culturas resident writing intern. Ungaro hails from San Pedro, California. Growing up with a Navajo/Meztizo mother and a Sicilian father has given Ungaro a unique perspective on the world. In 2021 Ungaro will graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Journalism. Her beats are race, pop culture, and entertainment.
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