Class of 2023 Looks Forward to their Junior Year.
Brooklyn Jones | Maui High School, Class of 2022Summer is here! Maui’s youth are fresh out of school and ready to seize each beautiful albeit scorching, day of summer vacation. While having blissful, homework-free time is the baseline of the enjoyment, many students find themselves looking forward to the new school year. The promise of returning to a physical classroom for in-person learning is a pleasantly pervasive thought, especially for the upcoming juniors. Numerous high school “rites of passage” including prom, pep rallies, school assemblies and the homecoming game, will pack their year with excitement.
Being able to attend social events will be a dramatically new concept after last school year. The pandemic limited social interaction in fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus or one of its variants. Amidst the initial panic, the safest route for schools to take was an entirely virtually distanced learning schedule.
Many students, like Charie Salacup, enjoyed a more relaxed school day because of distance learning. “As I got used to doing school virtually, I liked not having people see me every day, [and] not waking up early,” she says. But Charie still missed socializing with her classmates at Maui High School during lunch and recess. Not being around people during class, according to her, “definitely felt weird.” The lack of social interaction was challenging to overcome for many but the promise of in-person schooling will hopefully put that to rest. As her third year of high school approaches, Charie is most excited about the most coveted event of high school: Junior Prom. “I can’t wait to see everyone in their suits and dresses and the memories we’re going to make.”
Macy Fillazar, a fellow student at Maui High, agrees with Charie about prom. Most schools could not safely plan a prom night this past year but that is likely to change this year with school reopening. Macy is naturally hoping to experience a grandiose and cliche Junior Prom night. “I have dreamed about [prom] since I was small.” When she was four, Macy remembers seeing her brother going to prom with his date and has been excitedly waiting for it ever since! She loves everything about prom season: the “promposals” with cheesy puns and cute posters, going dress shopping and getting ready on the big night with friends. “Junior year is arguably the hardest year but after all of those rigorous courses and extensive exams, prom makes it all worthwhile,” she explains cheerfully.
While Kalla Pellettieri, a student at Seabury Hall High School, isn’t looking forward to the added workload of junior year, she is glad her school provides extra free blocks to allow time for an increased amount of homework and college planning. Like many other students her age, beginning a college search is a daunting task: “I don’t think I’m prepared to make those decisions about my future yet.” Even if she is unsure of her after-high school plans, Kalla is working hard and enjoying her time in high school as it comes, something she recommends incoming sophomores do as well. “The years go by really fast,” Kalla points out. And if there are any nervous soon-to-be freshmen out there, she says high school is way different from the drama seen on TV or in movies. “There aren’t any random song and dance numbers like in Grease or High School Musical,” she jokes.
Even if there won’t be any singing during practice, Patrick Borden is ready to get his head in the game and play basketball for Maui High’s team. “For my sophomore year, we didn’t have a basketball season because of COVID-19, which was really unfortunate,” he recalls. Patrick may have missed out on last year’s season but is more than ready to get back to the courts and play with his best friends as a junior. So far, some of his favorite memories of high school were during the basketball season. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be focusing on schoolwork too. Patrick’s goal this year is to improve his time management to balance his athletics and education because “staying up late to study and finish work isn’t very fun.” Nevertheless, being back in the classroom will help everyone stay focused on their work this year, leaving plenty of time to participate in and attend all kinds of sports events.
The physicality of this upcoming school year will allow everyone to spend less time on the computer and more time making meaningful memories. Although the pandemic put a temporary pause on these juniors’ high school experiences, they are more than ready to make up for it this year, in person.
Google® Is Not Everything is a monthly column authored by high school students. The title of the column emphasizes that education is more than just googling a topic. Google® is a registered trademark. This month’s guest columnist is Brooklyn Jones, a Junior at Maui High School. She is an assistant editor in her school’s journalism program, Saber Scribes, and is a member of the Girls Can STEM Club as well. Brooklyn is in the ACOM Pathway at Maui High, specializing in graphic design. In her free time, she swims for Hawai‘i Swimming Club, bakes and likes to go to the beach. She is the daughter of Melissa Ligot Jones and Darren Jones.