Oh, the places we’ve been

Reminiscing on extraordinary high school experiences of the Class of 2022

High school goes by in a flash, but not without some impactful events and timeless memories. It’s safe to say that the Class of 2022 has had the most remarkable four years a teenager could imagine. From new security measures to a war in the East, no other high school class could say they have experienced so much.
It all began in 2018. Within a few months of freshman year, something crazy had already happened.
“I came for morning practice, and I saw someone lying on the gym floor,” said senior Holly Ferrara. “I didn’t know who it was.”
In a world of gun violence, the mere fact that someone was able to access the school was unsettling. Luckily, the administration decided to broaden security measures to ensure nothing like this could ever happen again. Security was hired to be at all main entrances and exits while students and teachers alike were required to wear lanyards to ensure everyone entering the building was part of the community. However, everyone had different reactions to the new security measures.
“It depends on the person if they like the security measures or not,” said senior Erik Mikrut. “I don’t really know any of them or what they do other than check for IDs once in a while.”
Then came sophomore year. While other unexpected events occurred, nothing could compete with the experience that seemed to come straight out of a sci-fi movie: the COVID-19 pandemic. March 13, 2020 was supposed to start a two week break, but it became the last day of in-person learning until the next school year.
“eLearning was really hard for me,” said senior Moira Newell. “I couldn’t learn on Zoom calls everyday. Also, the fact you couldn’t see your friends or teachers in-person [was difficult].”
The effects of quarantine took a toll on many then-sophomores. Being away from peers was extremely difficult, and it was impossible at times to focus on school. However, everyone persevered and figured out how to live in this new normal. FaceTimes during lunch became commonplace as well as watching TV shows together, gaming together, or even simply sending a check-in text to one another. This shared desire for normalcy brought the Class of 2022 together.
“I think [the seniors are] so friendly with each other,” said Newell. “We go out of our way to say hi in the halls or to hang out after school, at football games, or [at] school dances.”
As COVID seemed to get better, Saint Viator announced a return to in-person learning with a new block schedule to reduce contact. Students would now go to four blocks of classes each day, and the schedule would switch between Navy Days and Red Days. Classes were only 75 minutes long. This was a big change from the 8-period schedule from previous years, and classes ended an hour earlier than before.
“Coming back to school junior year for the first time sticks out,” said senior Dave Orecchio. “Just being able to see everyone again was a surreal experience. I think that day made me appreciate Saint Viator High School more as a whole.”
The schedule would eventually change to 4 block-scheduled days of 90 minute classes with an 8-period day every Friday.
“The change in schedule can be viewed as either a positive or a negative,” said senior Daniella Avila. “While on one hand it created more opportunities for students to prioritize their time after school, Lion Days increased homework and decreased time spent with different classes.”
Senior year arrived faster than the Class of 2022 expected. The last two years were a blur due to COVID, but everyone was excited for a somewhat normal year. Homecoming was outdoors, but the fact that there was a homecoming dance was a victory. As other states started repealing their mask mandates, the question of whether Viator was still going to have a mask mandate was on everyone’s mind. After weeks of waiting, Saint Viator officially became mask optional.
“Not having masks has been great in my opinion,” said senior Tommy Sneed. “Both teachers and students finally get to read each others’ facial expressions, and there are no longer any verbal miscommunications caused by muffled mask voices.”
Unfortunately, another inconceivable event soon drew the world’s attention: Russia invaded Ukraine.
“I have also noticed the war is concerning to many people our age,” said senior Michael Corliss. “Some worry that Putin will move past Ukraine, which could create a global conflict—a global conflict that would almost certainly involve the US. It feels that our entire time in high school has been surrounded by some kind of conflict. From the pandemic to war, the chaos never ends.”
With only two more months until graduation, many more memories will be made. But as of right now, the Class of 2022’s experiences are ones for the history books.