Google Is Not Everything…

Our Hopes for 2021

Alexis Joy Viloria | Maui High School

To many, the year 2020 was nothing short of a rollercoaster. From the death of a basketball legend to a deadly pandemic to a chaotic election, people all over have been faced with unusual circumstances and unfavorable outcomes. Locally, families have been devastated as jobs previously dependent on tourism were suddenly deemed unnecessary.

Amidst the misfortune, many found opportunities to bring good to the world whether it be through service to the community through the providing of personal protective equipment, groceries and even the support of local businesses. With all that 2020 has provided to us, what will come next? How is the world preparing for what is to come in 2021? Three Maui high school students reflect on their experience in 2020 and what they hope will come out of new beginnings in 2021.

Samantha Della

Samantha Della, a Junior at Maui High School shares her take on the subject. When it comes to a challenge that she sees society as a whole has overcome in 2020, she views the education of her whole generation (Gen Z) as a huge achievement given the circumstances of the pandemic. “I think that one of the biggest challenges that were overcome during 2020 was being able to educate our generation, Gen Z, through various resources including articles online, videos, social media posts and so much more,” Della says. “Before 2020, I never really took the time to understand what was happening in the world and why certain things were important. This extremely historical year has taught me that being educated is so important and that there are not only problems in your community and/or personal life but throughout the entire world as well. It’s important to find any way that we possibly can to help make a change and help educate others.” To Samantha, 2020 was a year of learning, both for herself and others like herself.

During the long quarantine we all experienced in 2020, Samantha found good in the situation and put her energy towards self-care and improvement. “From that long, long quarantine given to us from the pandemic, I was able to shine light onto a bad situation and find ways to work on myself. Without having to worry about school, I found ways to build my self-confidence and my self-esteem. I explored how I dress and I tried new things, I exercised and overall I just became a better version of myself, which I am extremely grateful for.”

Seeing what 2020 offered, Samantha already set her eyes on how she wants the world to look in 2021. “Going forward, for 2021, I hope that during the upcoming year, we will find a stable hope to ending the spread of COVID-19. I hope that Gen Z will continue to educate themselves as well as others. I hope that the world will never have to experience another problem like this for at least a while and if they do, I hope they become better prepared for the challenges ahead.”

Personally, Samantha is hoping to take advantage of what is offered to her as she enters the last stretch of her high school career. “I hope that during 2021, going into my senior year, I continue to take opportunities.” She also took the time to acknowledge the importance of optimism and a positive mindset. “I hope everyone around me continues to look on the bright side of things and continues to push through this situation we have all been put in.” For her last remarks, she hopes for the very best for the world. “Most importantly, I hope that I can be successful and eventually have all of our lives return to normal.”

Charlotte Wyn Cabaccang

Charlotte Wyn Cabaccang, a Senior at Maui High School reflects on the events of 2020 and her hopes of what is to come. Taking a more personal approach to the subject, Charlotte credits 2020 for the overcoming of her fear of public speaking thanks to distance learning. “Being in a virtual environment made it easier for me to participate in group discussions and present to the class because I feel that there is a sense of wall separating me from others, which assures me that I am safe. Also, my work area is my safe space, and being able to talk to others while being in it lowers my anxiety and I feel more comfortable,” Cabaccang says.

In addition to her newfound public speaking skills, thanks to the time allotted to her in quarantine, Charlotte also shifted her focus towards mental health wellness and relaxation which ultimately benefited her. “I was able to focus on my mental health and take a breather during summer break which gave me more motivation to do better. It also set me up for success in more difficult coursework at the beginning of the school year.”

In 2021, Charlotte is looking forward to an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and the de-escalation of the situation as a whole. “I hope that the vaccines will be widely distributed with no bad side effects in 2021 and I also hope that the number of people getting sick or losing their lives will go down.”

Abbygail Viloria

A Senior at Baldwin High School, Abbygail Viloria also took the time to look back on 2020 and shed her hopes for 2021. In 2020, Abbygail states the hardships she faced as her family was directly affected by the pandemic. “Personally, the biggest thing I have overcome in 2020 is COVID-19. This virus is one of the worst things I have ever faced in my life and it had taken hold of the people I loved dearest, leaving me traumatized. My whole family got it. I had it the easiest since I was asymptomatic but it was still scary knowing that I could have gotten someone sick if I was not careful.” Taking the proper precautions to keep other loved ones and the community safe, Abbygail is grateful that her family overcame the tenure of the virus. “I am proud to say that my family and I had overcome COVID-19; it was an experience that we will not forget,” Viloria says.

Looking past her challenges, Abbygail finds peace knowing how much the acceptance and unity of the world as a whole have grown. “In the world, I believe that in 2020 everyone has overcome each other’s differences and learned of each other’s importance. Everyone has slowly learned to accept and stand along with one another, regardless of skin color, race, culture, or beliefs. All around the world, we have come together to stand up for each other and I believe it is incredible that this year has brought this out in all of us.”

For 2021, Abbygail is fixated on ending the pandemic that has taken a huge toll on her family and so many others worldwide. “The idea of 2021 is a bit scary to think about, just because I have so many hopes that might not possibly happen. COVID-19 brought so much pain and sadness upon my family and I could not imagine how awful it must be for other people out there suffering from this virus.” She is hopeful for a time where nobody else has to live in fear of the virus ever again. “I hope that in 2021 there will be a vaccine to cure this virus and no other human being will have to suffer the pain of COVID-19. 2021 will hopefully be the year where things can turn around for the better! No more differences, no more COVID and a new normal where it is not as scary to go outside.”

Now in her final year of high school, 2021 is the year of Abbygail’s graduation and entrance into higher education. Abbygail took the time to share her hopes regarding her success in 2021. “However, my hopes for 2021 as of now, are to graduate high school, transition into college and live a happy life. High school has been stressful and honestly, I cannot wait to get out though I am also a little scared.” Though scared for what is to come, Abbygail is ready to take on the world in 2021.

Though the outcome of 2021 is everything but certain, there is no doubt in knowing what the youth of Maui are going to be fixated on in the upcoming year. After a drawn-out year of quarantine, misfortune, masks and madness, everyone is hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the sake of the world, out of 2020 will hopefully come the reprisal brought by 2021.

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 Alexis Joy Viloria, a Senior at Maui High School. She is the founder and President of Maui High’s SaberScribes journalism club, and Vice President of the Silversword Chapter of the National Honor Society. Alexis is a part of Maui High’s air riflery team and is also a committed member of HOSA-Future Health Professionals as the Secondary Representative of the Hawai‘i HOSA State Council and a HOSA state gold medalist and international finalist. Alexis hopes to one day become a Pediatric Physician. She is the daughter of Alex and Juvy Viloria.