By Melissa Moore-Randall
As the almost 8,000 students in the Revere Public School system begin their third√ month of remote learning, Revere High School seniors are anxiously waiting to see if they will return to school and the playing fields. Seniors Nina Cassinello, Erica Anderson, Dillion Day, and Rich DiMarzo are trying to stay optimistic as they see their senior year slipping away due to Covid 19.
While the seniors understand the seriousness of Covid and how it has negatively impacted so many, they also feel that remote learning is not effective and that students need to return to the classroom in person.
Nina Cassinello said, “I think it’s important to acknowledge Covid is definitely an issue, and we must take the necessary precautions in order to ensure everyone’s safety. Wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and not having parties over a certain number of people is important if we want to see life get back to some form of normalcy. However with that being said, part of going back to normal is our ability to adapt. As long as we, as a city or as a school system, take the time to come together and develop in-depth precautions and safety regulations, we may be closer to reaching that sense of normalcy.”
Cassinello, an RHS field hockey, basketball, and softball player and member of the Poetry Out Loud Club, Student Council, Model UN Club and School Improvement Council, considers herself a student who thrives in a school setting. “ I look forward to collaborating with my peers and being mentored by my teachers, but it has become much harder to do that through a computer screen. My room had to be transformed into a classroom and become a place of productivity. I value all the work my teachers put into their lessons and I did find a way to adapt to the new norms, but it is definitely challenging. “
Erica Anderson, a four year, three sport athlete, agrees with Cassinello and acknowledges the impact Covid has had on so many. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of families, businesses, and school systems. The tragic loss of human life is awful and my deepest condolences go out to the victims affected by this virus.”
However, Anderson is also struggling with remote learning. “Remote learning is not going well. Learning remotely is something that no one would think of when thinking about their senior year of high school. Remote learning is not allowing students to express their opinions but more importantly, it is not allowing us to learn like we would if we were in school. There is no interaction with remote learning, most students are home all day alone, and there is unneeded emotional stress being put on the students.”
Dillion Day said, “COVID 19 is a very serious thing. It is not a joke and shouldn’t be taken as one. However it is shown, throughout the state, that school age kids are not the ones making up the numbers, but instead it is adults who make up more numbers. I think that there are safe ways to be in the building or to go hybrid just like other schools in our state have.”
Day, a varsity basketball and basketball player and member of the National Honor Society, said, “I think remote learning is great temporarily. I think that remote learning can be done for only certain ages and even certain classes. However, I think that overall it takes away from kids truly learning. All kids learn in different ways. So how many kids in Revere Public Schools are visual learners and hands on learners. It is very hard for some kids to learn through a screen with no discipline and no interaction. That doesn’t even cover the kids with no or poor internet connection who can’t even log onto class or understand the teacher.”
Rich Dimarzo, the RHS basketball and baseball captain and Spanish Honor Society Member, finds remote learning impossible to focus. “Staring at a screen all day is the least engaging way to learn and it is not helping me grow as a student at all. Covid is a very serious issue and even though I would love to be in school, safety comes before school. However, I feel it makes no sense how other places are open but school is not.”
In addition to the struggles with remote learning, the seniors are also struggling with the disappointments that Covid is bringing to their milestone senior year of high school.
My senior year was basically taken away from me. I experienced a lot of “lasts” without knowing, like my last school pep rally junior year. It’s just sad when you look forward to something for so many years, as my friends and I looked forward to senior year, but then you get there and it’s being done in your room through a computer, rather than in school with all your favorite teachers and friends. One of the other biggest disappointments is that so many things are unknown. There are no answers to common questions like when will we be back in the building? Will we get to experience our sports senior nights? Will we have normal graduation?”, said Cassinello.
Anderson said three words come to mind when thinking about being a senior … community, spirit, and accomplishment. “It is our final year to make memories with events like pep rallies, talent shows, and graduation. Knowing that those events may not happen due to the city statistics, lawmakers and the pandemic is upsetting. Another disappointment of COVID-19 is that I may not be able to share these amazing events and memories with my classmates. I feel as though the school system and the city are making no effort to help make this upcoming year for the seniors the best possible. We all witnessed what happened with the CO’ 20’, I will not allow that to happen to us.”
Day added, “Even though most younger kids dread school, I think most seniors or high schoolers, or even people who have graduated, that we don’t want to be rushed into the real world. Not being in school is taking away from our childhoods. Some adults say high school is the best 4 years of your life but now imagine taking away the last year and a half of high school? Senior and junior year is actually when everything happens. Taking away that year and a half is taking away some of the last and best years of our youth. It is really sad and disappointing to be a senior right now. “
All students echoed a similar sentiment stating that, at some point, the city should move forward with a safe and logical hybrid model this year. The seniors suggested reopening schools with a hybrid plan where a certain number of students are allowed in the building a few days a week that maintains Covid 19 safety protocols. They also said an option should be available for students to either return to in person learning or continue learning remotely.
As numbers continue to keep Revere in the red, the seniors hope that at some point they will be able to salvage their senior year and enjoy all of the milestones that come along with it. The last day the seniors and the other 8,000 Revere Public School students were in their classrooms and on the playing fields was March 12.