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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


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Class of 2024: The Survivors
Katie Koslow, Pop Culture Editor • May 1, 2024

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Class of 2024: The Survivors

A reflection on the class of 2024’s first year at Darien High School during the height of COVID-19

As we enter the new year, graduation is in sight for the Class of 2024. Yet, high school has not been the easiest road for this group of students who also happen to be the “covid survivors.”

Freshmen sit six feet apart in English class in the fall of 2020. A plastic shield is visible on the teacher’s desk along with a pile of cleaning supplies. (Katie Koslow)

For a brief moment, flash back to the fall of 2020. COVID-19 was at a high, and there were still many questions surrounding the virus. Vaccines were hardly on the scene yet. Many families continued to order their groceries online or pick them up curbside. Masks covered faces around town.

It was during the fall of 2020 that the current seniors entered Darien High School.

Yet, we never had an orientation. Students were given a black-and-white map and sent on their way. Many relied on the help of siblings or friends to decipher their class locations. There was no welcome, no reassuring motivational speech; we were provided with, simply, a list of safety precautions and an explanation of the new block hybrid schedule.

All Zoom cameras are turned off during a virtual choir class in November 2020. Teacher, Mr. Andrade, writes a lesson on the board despite the unusual setting. (Katie Koslow)

Senior Rachel Grecca describes the moment she entered the high school on the first day: “I felt completely overwhelmed because I had never been to DHS besides going for concerts and I was the oldest sibling so no one could tell me what to expect.”

The glaring red signs displaying the one-way hallway directions. In the fall of 2020, freshman could find these around every corner. (Britney Lavecchia)

Upon entering the building, students were met with neon arrows taped to the floors and walls. In addition to the difficulties of having to navigate such a massive building for the first time, one-way hallways provided another obstacle: if you accidentally walked even five feet beyond your class, you were sent in a circle which required you to go upstairs, down the hall, back down the stairs, and then down your original hallway for another chance. Keep in mind, we – as ninth graders – were also still trying to understand the organization of the building, so being sent to an entirely new floor was certainly stressful.

Bringing a more positive light to the one-way hallways, senior Katie Galligan said, “I feel like it wasn’t that difficult to navigate them because we didn’t know anything else! I feel that it did impact the walking patterns of the school today as transitioning to not having to walk one direction was also strange.”

The entire student body was split in two based on their last names. The first half of the alphabet went to school Mondays and Tuesdays, the second half went Wednesdays and Thursdays, and everyone was remote on Fridays. An ABC News article ‘Covid-19 may have impacted our children’s learning progress in school: Where do we go from here’ written by Eden David states, “Children lost out on about one-third of what they usually would have learned during the academic year from 2020 to mid-2022.”

During the height of the pandemic, lunch was eaten in the classrooms rather than the cafeteria. Even when sickness rates improved slightly and all students were welcomed back to school every day, the ninth graders and sophomores were told to eat lunch in the gyms. Teachers sat behind clear plastic booths and students had to stand behind a line of tape if they approached their teacher’s desk. Face shields on top of multiple masks were not an uncommon sight. 

Despite the apocalyptic nature of our first year at DHS, the Class of 2024 endured. We haven’t experienced a real graduation since 5th grade, as our middle school graduation consisted of driving through a parking lot, so the big day in June will undoubtedly be full of excitement, pride, and reflection.

So here’s to the Class of 2024- we made it!

To see the timeline of COVID-19’s effects on schools click here.

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About the Contributors
Katie Koslow
Katie Koslow, Pop Culture Editor
Katie is a senior who started writing for Neirad in the fall of 2021. She loves writing about the arts, particularly theater. Along with being a writer, Katie is the President of Theatre 308. When she’s not writing, she can be found taking dance classes, on stage in musical productions, and spending time with friends and family.
Britney LaVecchia
Britney LaVecchia, Co-Editor in Chief
Britney LaVecchia is a Senior at DHS and joined the Neirad staff her sophomore year. She enjoys writing about breaking news, student life and opinion pieces. She is very excited to be co- editor in chief this year as she aspires to continue studying journalism in college. Outside of DHS, you can find her rowing, hanging out with friends or writing. Her favorite celebrities include Adam Sandler and Shawn Mendes.

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