Freshmen look forward to in-person high school in the fall

With the district opening back up for full in-person learning, the Class of 2024 is excited to finally be on campus

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Jake Gerbracht

The Cal High campus has looked pretty empty during lunch this spring without freshmen and the majority of other students. Most freshmen are looking forward to getting on campus for the first time in the fall.

Pranav Sannaasi, Staff Writer

This year’s freshmen lost some important moments because of COVID-19. 

They missed the final quarter of their eighth grade year at middle school, and then most had a disconnected first year of high school, away from campus. The giddy feeling of a vacation from school most experienced in March 2020 didn’t last long before the realities of virtual learning set in for this year’s freshmen class.

“In the beginning it felt nice to get away from school but after a while it felt boring and I started to miss school and my friends,” freshman Ario Pourzand said.

With plans now in place for schools to return to in-person learning in August, most current freshmen will return to campus and sit in an actual classroom for the first time. While the district’s Virtual Academy will exist and be an option for some, most freshmen have chosen to physically experience what high school is like.

“It’ll be especially interesting to catch up with people who don’t have social media because it’s difficult to communicate with them because of the limited interaction of ‘Zoom school’,” freshman Raza Ali wrote in an email. “I’m eager to meet these people who haven’t been sharing their lives over the past year and see how and what they’ve been doing,”

But friends aren’t the only thing freshmen long for. 

Freshman Mukund Senthil Kumar said he misses the mundane things about in-person school, such as writing on paper and eating lunch with other students.

“[I missed] sitting up and doing my work instead of doing it in [my] bed,” Pourzand said.

Returning to school also means working in a conventional classroom environment, with a teacher lecturing in-person, instead of speaking to Zoom boxes that are often black with only students’ names appearing.

“I thrive when I’m with others,” freshman Andre Peixoto said. “I think it’s my best environment, so just that in general I’m excited for.”

For most freshmen, the return means they will be entering high school for the first time and can now attend events such as dances and sporting events that they missed out on this year.

Since current freshmen will be returning as sophomores in the fall, they also will have new options for learning, such as more challenging AP and Honors classes. 

“Freshman year is more about general education, and there aren’t a whole lot of options for electives and specialized classes,” Ali wrote. “I’m looking forward to taking classes that I actually want to take.”

Online school has given freshmen some experience though, even if it was mostly through a screen, so the adjustment won’t be as difficult.

“I have sort of skipped that feeling of ‘freshman nervousness’ and will be entering high school having a basic sense of how things work, where things are, and what the Cal community is like,” Ali wrote.

While freshmen dipped their toes in the shallow end of high school this past year, it’s not enough to fully prepare them for the deep end that is sophomore year. 

“Whenever I went to school in-person, it felt like I was actually progressing,” freshman Zaki Humayan said. “However, through online learning that feeling [has been] basically nonexistent.”