Sunday, September 20, 2020

An Incoming CHS Freshman’s Perspective on Distance Learning

As an incoming freshman at Coronado High School and very recently an eighth grader at Coronado Middle School, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth some of the most unique challenges I have ever faced. The memorable and life-changing transition from middle school to high school most people experience was not celebrated in the most ideal circumstances for the class of 2024. In fact, with the soaring number of positive cases of the coronavirus in California, the anticipated eighth grade promotion ceremony was cancelled and replaced with a drive-thru celebration instead. The annual eighth grade awards ceremony, where parents, teachers, and other family members were scheduled to attend in person at the school, was replaced with an online broadcast consisting of recordings of teachers in their homes making the announcements. The last few days of school, normally filled with fun, laughter, tears, and yearbook-signing, was also absent from this year’s celebration. 

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However, despite these adversities, there have been some upsides to the current situation. During this nearly five month period of isolation and limited social contact, I have been able to concentrate on my golf game and hone in on the skills that I need to practice more. In addition, taking this time off from rigorous school work has allowed me to concentrate on my own goals and ambitions for the future. Spending more time with my family has also been a positive aspect of this experience, which I did not do as much pre-COVID-19 because of my dad’s former job in the Navy and the fact that my sister and I were attending school Monday through Friday. The Coronavirus pandemic has also forced me to become more resourceful as it is not so convenient or necessary to travel to the store to make unimportant purchases. These hundreds of hours of time spent at home have made me think outside the box on how to fill my free time as well as ways of being productive in accomplishing daily tasks. 

Looking ahead at the upcoming school year, much uncertainty and confusion lie within the next couple of weeks. With the ever-changing number of positive cases, rules, health guidelines, and research, nothing is set in stone. Especially when it comes to the possibility of reopening schools, this delicate process relies on so many factors and decisions that nobody can ever fully anticipate or prepare for. Right now, I believe students like me need to be flexible in whatever is put in our path, but I am the type of person who likes to know what is coming ahead of time and prepare for it. This experience of just seeing where time takes us is definitely nerve wracking and even stressful at times because all four years of high school are a critical time period in every teenager’s life. These years are when we try different subjects and possible career paths, make lifelong friendships, and learn the foundational skills needed for college and our future lives. In addition, going to school is such a routine event every year that this change and uncertainty is drastic for most students. 


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My opinion of online distance learning varies. On one hand, I am glad that the Coronado community can help contain this virus by staying home. Before we open schools, I believe that we need to prevent as many deaths and infections as possible. On the other hand, “attending” school in an online setting is drastically different than being at the campus in person. While distance learning, students do not have as many opportunities to collaborate with their peers or socialize as they did in school. I also personally prefer to be in a classroom with a teacher explaining the course material. The environment that I am in also affects the way that I learn. For example, changing periods and going to different classrooms is a major part of what makes high school and middle school unique because I am always with different peers and teachers in multiple classes. With distance learning, however, I will most likely be at my computer and desk for the majority of the time. 

Overall, I am anticipating seeing what the future brings to Coronado High School and how I will continue my education. I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has truly been an obstacle for me and most other people. Our lives have been dramatically altered, and we have adjusted to changes we would have thought unimaginable at the beginning of the year. Although this will be an extremely unique start to high school and the next chapter of my life, I have learned through this experience that even though you cannot always plan what is going to happen, you can always change how you act and your attitude towards the situation.

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Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A freshman at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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