Facing the school year of 2020-2021

Throughout the difficult times of this 2020-2021 school year, students have learned to adapt and face the challenges.

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Throughout the difficult times of this 2020-2021 school year, students have learned to adapt and face the challenges.

After a wild schedule of learning and a loss of many normal school activities, the challenging school year of 2020-2021 at Edmond Memorial High School is coming to an end.

Freshmen missed out on first time experiences like a full Swine Week, football games and other school functions. Sophomores and juniors also had a change academically with many students taking their first Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Seniors not only had less time at school for their final year, but also were not able to experience all the events that traditionally took place.

To start the year, masks were required to be worn, and the school was on A/B schedule. Students on “A” schedule attended in-person on Monday and Tuesday, and were online Wednesday-Friday. “B” schedule students were online Monday-Wednesday, and in-person Thursday and Friday. This schedule meant students only went to school in person two days a week and only half the student body was actually there. After three quarters of the school year the schedule changed again to four days in person with Wednesday as a virtual day.

Being online for the majority of the week was challenging because it took a lot of motivation and time to teach myself AP curriculums,” senior Gracie Price said.

Most students agree with Price. Online learning often meant teaching the curriculum to yourself, which isn’t typically how school has operated in the past. Teachers were helpful and understanding, however while they were at school teaching one group, the other group was at home doing lessons, therefore teachers couldn’t teach both groups at the same time. Some teachers were out of school often due to their personal life making it even harder for students to learn.

“My grades are nothing like they used to be, or would be, I presume, if COVID-19 wasn’t a thing,” sophomore Wenny Xu said.

Across the board, students and teachers had to adapt to very different circumstances and many events that normally took place were cancelled. Freshman and sophomores were especially hit hard because they haven’t been able to experience school functions and academically challenged courses yet. 

“There are so many things I wish we could’ve done,” Xu said.

The pandemic cancelled school assemblies and many school events and drastically decreased the amount of students that could attend games. Only immediate family members of athletes were permitted to attend winter sports events.

Many students found the bright side this year. Students discovered that with only half the student body present, it became easier to meet new people and create new friendships.

“I have met and hung out with so many people that have extended from my good friends,” senior Kaylee Melcher said.

This year also marked the end of snow days. Now that the students have the technology to learn at home, in the case of inclement weather that would traditionally cancel school for the day, now students still have school online.

By the start of the second semester, students had mostly adapted to the new schedule and had begun thinking about Edmond Memorial’s sacred tradition: Swine Week (the annual charity event).

Instead of having the Swine Week assemblies during school and an event every night, the assemblies were moved to after school and most additional events didn’t happen. However, the school did still have dress up days. Last year, over $608,000 had been raised for the Swine Week recipient and this year about $204,000 were raised. Although those numbers have a large difference, raising that amount of money in a global pandemic is quite an achievement.

After spring break, one of the biggest changes of the year began. The Bulldogs transferred from A/B schedule to four days a week.

“March was a special month,” Price said. “We came full circle from being completely online last March to being in school nearly all week, and it just represented the change that a year can bring.”

Soon after returning to almost fully in-person learning, Edmond Memorial had more events.

“The highest point of the year for me was prom and being able to have that experience as a senior,” Price said.

After prom had been cancelled last year, it was an even more magical experience for all that attended.

To students’ dismay, this year final exemptions had been taken away for all, but seniors. Prior to this year, if students met the requirements they would receive one exemption for a final exam. But because the school didn’t want to incentivize coming to school while sick this year, exemptions were stopped.

Fortunately for them, seniors can still exempt all of their finals this year.

They have pushed through such a difficult year and will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel, graduation. As they all leave the school to take on the world, they will carry the many lessons that they’ve learned in this crazy, unconventional year.

Contact Hailey Paddock and Kelsi Seltenreich at [email protected]