Freshman class misses out on their first year
By Lucy Wing, Reporter
Ah, freshman year. Who can forget that terrifyingly exciting first day, walking into the school through a tunnel of staff applauding their new students. The excited buzz going around the building in anticipation of the first assembly, the first sports game, the first dance; everyone is excited for a year full of new experiences. But this year the only buzz is the hum of the computer.
For the class of 2024, their first memories of high school were their teachers and classmates in tiny boxes on their computer screen.
Freshman year is intended to be the year where one finds their footing and gets to know the school, but with lessons entirely virtual, it is incredibly difficult to form connections with staff and other students.
“I’ve hardly been in the building and I don’t really know my teachers that well. [Freshman year is] just a year to get to know the school, which we just completely missed out on,” freshman Harper Hobson said.
In a normal year, freshmen would be introduced to the school through a series of tours with high school mentors to ensure they felt comfortable and appreciated at VHS.
In March 2020, after only one small orientation for the incoming freshman, the district went completely virtual, making it difficult for incoming students to get that sense of acceptance.
“I don’t exactly feel welcome [to the school] because I didn’t really have a chance to feel welcome,” freshman Finn Magonegil said.
The mentor program at VHS also provides a unique opportunity to get to know the upperclassmen, especially in such a small community like Vashon.
“I was looking forward to being with the other grades because I know a lot of people in every grade,” freshman Olivia Boyes said. “And [I was also looking forward] to just starting a new school.”
For others new to the school and district, it can be daunting being in an environment where everyone already knows each other.
“[I wish there was] some way for new students to interact with the students who have been in the district longer… I’ve met two students new to the district… I know it was really hard for them because they didn’t know anyone,” Hobson said.
With fewer social events such as assemblies, sports games, and dances, it gets hard to not only meet new students, but also have fun and look forward to school.
“I was really looking forward to standing in the high school section [at sports games] and going to the dances, actually having a fun dance, not like the middle school ones,” Magonegil said.
Extracurricular activities such as band, sports, and clubs are also missing from this year’s agenda, taking away another aspect of high school,
and making it increasingly challenging for students to come out of their shell and form connections with their classmates.
“I was definitely looking forward to playing soccer,” Boyes said. “Hopefully that can still happen.”
Boyes, along with many students, are looking toward the future, where restrictions possibly lessen and the country can return to a relative sense of normalcy. And while the freshman class missed out on many of their classic first high school experiences, they have more than enough time in the future to make up for it.