Freshmen year begins in atypical fashion


Photo by Jennifer Peery

Freshmen Kayla Peery attending her zoom class

Kelly Lynch, Feature Editor

District 202’s school year has begun with distance learning. The only time students have been close to the actual building was to pick up their textbooks.

Typically, freshmen students are welcomed to North with a day of activities run by peer leaders. Due to coronavirus concerns, North sent the students introduction videos and held virtual meetings to introduce them to their new setting. 

“Each day we had different activities for them to watch to help get adapted to the school,” Principal Ross Draper said. “Monday was a guest speaker and Tuesday was admin.”

Their guest speaker, Eddie Slowikowski, who was a former NCAA All-American runner, now known as a professional speaker and author, talked about his own life experiences of determination and how he gets through hard situations.

North also created a virtual tour of the building, created by the members of Tiger TV seniors Kaylee Hill, Olivia Coyne, and Valerie Loeblich along with sophomore Becca Lucas. Since the freshman students have had limited experience being on the North campus, building administrators wanted to familiarize them with what will eventually be their academic home for the next four years.

“I took part in helping create freshmen orientation, so that it could feel as normal as possible,”  Loeblich. “Like the tour, for example, every year is led by students. By adding a student aspect to it virtually, I hope we created a warmer welcome that has some sense of normalcy.”

Another new experience for freshmen is distance learning with school-provided laptops. Some students enjoy this new way of learning that affects the way they choose to work during this time.

“I like that I have the ability to do my work at my pace,” freshman Addison Hans said. “Teacher’s give us work to do, and I can choose to do it now or later when I find the time.”

Some hardships of online-learning might include internet or technology problems, lack of understanding, and/or struggling with work.

Challenges of online learning for me are the breakout rooms,” Coyne said. “This is because it’s awkward and uncomfortable to work with people you haven’t met in person yet.”

Other benefits that freshmen are finding include: the environment is easy-going, shorter classes, less homework, and working at your own pace.

Most teachers post the notes for class after, so if you miss anything or want to write more down, you can go to those, freshman Gavin Seno said. “I may not be as engaged as I would be if I were in a classroom.

Middle school is vastly different than high school from the structure of the school to the way classes work. The incoming freshmen had a big change when logging into their first class, than from the last time they walked out of their middle school.

“Yes, online high school is easier than middle school,” Coyne said. “Everything with online high school is more organized and what the middle school was doing when I went there.”

All the hype leading up to the freshmen’s first year of high school was crushed by the coronavirus. While some freshmen are happy that they don’t have to wake up extra early to go to school, some students are disappointed that they don’t get to go and see their friends and favorite teachers.

It’s really boring because I’m just sitting in my room and have nothing to do all day and I can’t see my friends,” Peery said.