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Reflecting on Our Return

By Debarati Chowdhury

After spending over a year of online and hybrid learning, New Hyde Park is finally on track to coming back to a “normal” school year — or at least we think. Transitioning back into in-person classes has brought many changes, including the obvious pandemic restrictions, new students and teachers and the lowered capacity of club events and workshops. Some things have not changed at all. But overall, we as students and as teachers have changed immensely.

“There is a certain warmth that is felt when talking to old friends, and coming back to school in-person has allowed for that...”

While gaining this new social awkwardness during quarantine, we have somehow managed to become more social with each other: sharing old memories, comparing schedules, complaining about our classes. I remember the first day of this school year when I reunited with people that I have not talked to since seventh or eighth grade. Of course, there are those moments where you want to crawl into oblivion and give yourself time to recuperate from all the social interaction, but there is a certain warmth that is felt when talking to old friends, and coming back to school in-person has allowed for that.

Besides being able to see old acquaintances, seeing the new students, whether they are the seventh graders fresh in middle school or students who have never set foot in this school, makes me laugh sometimes. Watching them trying to rush in a crowded hallway between classes is quite hilarious. Sure, it can get a little annoying, but you can not help but remember feeling that same nervousness, rush and fear when you were in seventh grade.

Source by Ms. Mary Kay Mannle

The hallways are much more crowded now than they were when this picture was taken last spring.

This school year has also brought other new faces into our classrooms: teachers. Becoming a teacher is a challenge itself, yet being able to teach in a unique situation such as this is a feat, which I commend. Seeing these new faces teaching in our classrooms makes everything a little different. These teachers are experiencing the same situation as we are, with the new changes to learning, navigating or re-navigating ourselves around the school, and trying to remember people by looking at their eyes rather than entire faces. Yet, being able to adapt and learn is a student’s and a teacher’s best skill, especially the students and teachers here in New Hyde Park Memorial.

Looking back, a year that has barely materialized in my mind, and possibly the minds of my other fellow students as well, has truly made me reflect on the past and the present for us. I like to think that somehow with all that happened, whether good or bad, we have always been able to be close-knit and find a smile in all the sorrow.


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