As we approach the end of the dog days of summer, the first day of school for Kingsway students is just around the corner, and they are ready for it.
After a pandemic year and a half, for many, summer 2021 marks the end of a life characterized by fear and anxiety, and the beginning of one focused on fun and success.
“Many teens this summer are spending time with their friends at beaches, pools, malls, or just at each other’s homes,” disclosed Andrea Chhour, junior. They’re also going to amusement parks like Six Flags or Dorney Park and going on vacations with their friends and family,” she continued.
While this description of being out and about proves true for the vast majority, some still choose to err on the side of caution.
“In both summer 2020 and summer 2021, I’ve felt inhibited. I haven’t been able to do much because there are still restrictions, and I don’t feel comfortable. It has been a lot of reliance on technology rather than going to the beach or the park as I would have in previous years,” explains Aliviyah Mateo, junior.
Whichever way students have found joy during these past months, one thing is evident and that is how not everything is fun and games anymore.
Madison Grubb, a senior, claims “Most of [her] friends have jobs this summer. They are working mostly at fast-food restaurants, ice cream shops, or babysitting”. Mateo takes it one step further by expressing that “All of [her] friends are working A LOT, so [she] doesn’t see them often. Everyone is doing their own thing.”
Although this is typically the age where students, particularly upperclassmen, begin to acquire jobs, many believe that more kids than ever have entered the workforce this summer to get out of the house.
Walking into any Swedesboro business is a near guarantee to see the friendly face of a Kingsway Dragon this year, creating a newfound culture of responsibility among students.
“Coming back from this unusual year and a half, I expect to see two entirely different groups. Those who used the time to reflect, grow, and rebuild, and those who chose to stay the same,” said Mateo, who believes that having a summer job is an important step in productivity.
Regardless of summer plans, everyone seems excited to return to school this fall, for reasons both academic and social.
“I am excited to go into my senior year and be able to watch football games and go to homecoming. I can’t wait for everything to feel normal again,” noted Grubb. “Some of my classmates, including myself, were all virtual last year, but I think we handled it very well and learned from the experience. Now it is time to go back to everything we miss,” she continued.
“I am excited to look into more clubs when returning to school in the fall. During this previous school year, all the clubs I joined had intriguing plans and agendas throughout the year. Many of the activities, however, were limited due to Covid. Hopefully, for this upcoming school year, we’ll be able to follow through with these plans,” expressed Chhour.
While her story sparks an interesting conversation, it is not unique to just clubs. Individual students have plans of their own in all aspects of their lives that they are more than ready to act on this year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how much my classmates have grown, both physically and metaphorically,” conveyed Mateo. “Before COVID, as freshmen, members of the Class of 2023 were like immature middle schoolers. Now we are driving, have jobs, and are preparing to go to college in a few years”.
While some major changes have already occurred, the real progress for Kingsway’s students is destined to transpire in the upcoming months as they turn their back on the past and transition into the people they dream of becoming.
By Audrey Pachuta