The Class of 2022 reflects on four year of surreal insanity

It’s been a weird, wild ride – from the pandemic to wild fires to cotton candy vape – but this year’s seniors have expierenced it all, and then some


Ari Harvey

Plagued by fires, bomb threats, a global pandemic, and general high school mayhem, the Class of 2022’s high school experience has been unlike any other. With the year drawing to a close, the Class of 2022 finally gets a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel that has been the chaos these past four years.

As the final days of senior year tick down, now is a good time to reflect upon our time at Cal High and the way our lives have shifted in just a few short, or at time long, years. 

What better place to start than back in 2018. Now, let’s look back at our four year journey known as high school.

Freshman Year

Freshman year was all about getting used to the new campus and the feeling of just being a bit more independent. It was strange but it taught us how to juggle classes and multitask more effectively. 

It was a time of uncertainty and confusion, a new world. Hanging out with older students made the transition easier for some of us than it might have been for others. It was nice having an aged group to explain this foreign land of high school to us. 

Seniors were wise and interesting to talk to back in the day. Perhaps you had bad experiences with seniors in your early high school career, but for some of us they were people to look up to and aspire to be in the future. 

During freshman year many of us little freshmen witnessed the booming of the vape industry. Walk into any bathroom and the squad was lighting up. Everybody knew somebody that was lighting up. Nowadays it has died down but back then it was wild.

These were simpler times and people were more happy and living life before the pandemic set a feeling of isolation that many of us still can’t shake off. It’s wild how drastically the world can change in a few years.

Another booming economy besides vaping was memes. Kids screaming for directions in a Ugandan accent, moths making love to lamps, people eating Tide Pods, a whole heap of political memes, a young yodeling cowboy, Mark Zuckerburg in court and the Infinity War memes.

In the world of commerce, our beloved City Center Bishop Ranch opened, bringing a plethora of high-cost luxury shops that only Blackhawk residents could frequent. And, of course, Boba Guys, a boba tea establishment where half the drinks aren’t even tea.

Some of us recall that 2018 was a great year for gaming because of the many hailed games released that year. One of the most highly praised games of the time was “God of War PS4”. It had amazing visuals and smooth gameplay. Another game people were drooling over was “Marvel’s Spider Man”. After a few soulless movie tie-in games they struck oil.

2018 was an interesting year for music with the release of Drake’s “God’s Plan” as well as multiple other hits in the industry.

Movies turned the tide with mega hit blockbusters gracing the silver screen, such as phenomenon that was “Infinity War”. The film was discussed everywhere and even prompted some fights because some people were prone to share spoilers.

On a more serious note, our first semester also saw the Camp Fire in Butte County, one of the most deadly and the most financially destructive wildfire in American history. The day of school we had off on Nov. 16 was a wake-up call for many that climate change was having real-world consequences in our community.

We had a stellar introduction to high school life when on Sept. 5, a vague threat of violence ws levied at Cal. Even worse, smoke from a culinary arts class set off the fire alarm the next day, the day the supposed threat was supposed to happen. A fitting introduction to Cal High.

Our freshman year, a mural of a grizzly bear was painted on the old gym, bringing some miniscule amount of color to our otherwise dreary walls.

On campus, a musically inclined group of teachers formed the band known today as Partial Credit.

In other news, Christopher George became principal at the start of the year… and then left his position at the end of the year, leaving room for Megan Keefer to arrive the start of our sophomore year.

– Evan Heinz

Sophomore Year

The year everything changed. It started off like any other school year, but little did we know it would be the calm before the storm.

Before it was named the “Zen Den”, the Wellness Center was introduced to Cal’s campus, located in the administration building. 

I honestly can’t imagine a world without that blessed place. Stressed? Take a break to feel the satisfaction of dragging a fork through a box of sand. Need to calm down? Enjoy a cup of tea while lounging with an endless array of stuffed animals. 

What more could you possibly want?

Cal was hit by a huge increase in transfers with almost a hundred students coming from Dougherty Valley. Despite our rival’s alleged academic prowess, it seemed like Cal, instead, was the place to be.

This year also marked our last homecoming dance indoors, with flip book photo booths, It’s-It ice cream sandwiches and Mario Kart stations. Thankfully, it wasn’t as disastrous as the one our previous year if you can remember that unfortunate incident with the collapsing barrier in the Event Center. 

Our campus also received  a badly needed addition when vape detectors were installed in the bathrooms. Gone were the days of those strawberry scented stalls, or so we thought. Turns out, the detectors could be set off by any kind of aerosol product, even a spray of perfume would do the trick. 

Looks like vaping got away this time. Vaping-1, Cal-0.

Then came what could only be described as a series of unfortunate events. From thefts in the men’s locker room to the webstore being hacked, it seemed like a storm was brewing, but what could it be? 

Then it came on the ill-fated day of Friday the 13th in the month of March.  The day when the SRVUSD YouTube channel probably had its highest viewership ever. 

The San Ramond Valley Unified School District  Board of Education decided to cancel classes until spring break. Some celebrated this as an extended vacation, others grumbled that COVID-19 wasn’t much worse than the flu. 

Whatever it was, it seemed to never end. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months.

As the pandemic began to ravage our world, students who didn’t have to spend as much time on school were able to discover new hobbies and passions, creating a renaissance of creativity within the often dour lives of high school juniors.

TikTok trends kept us busy as mortal men discovered the power of whipped coffee and bread making, but nothing could prepare us for what came next.

– Shiphrah Moses

Junior Year 

The continuation. The year where everything and nothing happened at the same time. 

At this point in the pandemic, a lot more people took up new hobbies. Impulse purchases were made, TikTok inspired meals were eaten, shows were binged, Minecraft was crafted, well that was until Among Us came along.

Hats off to you Among Us, you served us well. No seriously, you expanded my vocabulary. The word ‘sus’ was introduced into my lingo just as ‘where we dropping’ was years earlier.

We had the scare of Schooloop being taken away. I remember the fear of using a different grading app. That would have been awful. 

The most unique places to attend school were uncovered. But attending school in those unique spaces often comes with the risk of unmuting while in the middle of blending your smoothie or communicating in a language you speak with the intent of only your dog hearing.

During this time we learned a lot about our roommates also known as family, like the true culprit of who never puts their dishes in the dishwasher or how often our siblings really poo a day.

We also learned the significance of sitting ergonomically. My body will forever be shaped by the way I sat for seven hours with my neck forward, mouth open, shoulders high, and back curvaceously hunched all to be beholden by my wondrous laptop. 

We grew more intimate with our computers this year, like what pushes our computer to the point that the fan must be on. Math. It’s always math.

Then school ended? Meaning no more logging on to Zoom while in bed. 

No more running down stairs to collect a piece of toast while in class. 

No more teaching our pets how to find the derivative. 

No more worrying about wifi connectivity. 

No more virtual school for the summer. 

We were changed, to say the least from, this virtual learning experience. We bid you, adieu junior year (woah adieu has a lot of different vowels in it, huh? That’s an astute observation. Maybe I should use it as a starting word in Wordle).

– Sydney Cicchitto

Senior Year

A marvelous return. A glorious comeback. Masked faces emerged from black boxes and Zoom links turned into real classrooms. School was back in session!

While it was the same old Cal High campus we were returning to, school looked a lot different than how we left it back in March of 2020. 

First, a moment of silence for our dear friend, Schoolloop. While we will never get to experience the satisfaction of checking off assignments from the task list again, the memory of our favorite school management app will never leave us. 

Dear Schoolloop, Schoology doesn’t hold a candle to your magnificence. We missed like a dear childhood friend. Sadly, we never even got to share a juice box together.

We also returned to a campus that looked slightly less like a prison with the addition of a colorful mural on the World Language building.

Each classroom greeted students with a gallon sized container of hand sanitizer and a box of masks. 

While seemingly innocent, the larger-than-life disinfectant quickly gained notoriety. Its rancid smell and sticky texture had people running to the bathrooms to wash off the substandard substance. 

One way or another, though, people’s hands still ended up clean.

Nobody could have predicted the success of “Squid Game” when it was released in September 2021, unleashing a storm in the meme world. Was the dalgona coffee trend of 2020 a predictor of the dalgona scene in “Squid Game”? The world may never know, but it seems pretty sus.

From lunch seating to rallies to homecoming, everything was moved outdoors. While some still managed to sneak their meals into the main building, the majority of the student body was left to bear the elements on their own. 

Homecoming was a surprising success. It’s a lot easier to mosh in the open air compared to being cooped up in the Event Center. We can’t say the rallies were much more spirited than they usually were, but we guess some things never change at Cal High. 

One tradition that returned to Cal was Senior Ball in San Francisco. 

Sparkly dresses, suits and ties, limos and party buses, seniors went all out for their last big high school dance. The blackjack tables were an interesting addition for a school- sponsored event, but we’re not complaining. 

The food on the other hand, well let’s just say it was a mixed bag. The tacos were definitely not worth the nearly hour-long wait in line. The ice cream tacos, however, stole the show. 

Overall, I’m just glad we didn’t get food poisoning (I’m looking at you juniors. Sorry about that).

While we were away on our senior picnic, enjoying the hour-long line for Medusa as Dougherty Valley kids waited for excitement to visit Disneyland, our younger peers on campus dealt with a literal garbage fire, forcing the entire main building to evacuate. 

A literal garbage fire—a very appropriate end to our tiring and never-ending high school career.

Now, with the year coming to an end, we look back at all these memories, the good, the bad and the ugly  with a certain fondness.

– Shiphrah Moses

The Class of 2022 lived through everything, from our first and only normal year as freshmen to the chaos of online learning in a global pandemic as sophomores and juniors to our return to campus as seniors. 

A different adventure lies before us now, but the last four years of Cal will always be memorable.

Goodbye Grizzlies.