La Salle Students Reflect on 2020 And Look Forward To 2021


Fia Cooper

The opportunities for personal growth that came from this challenging year are among the most positive things to happen in 2020 for some.

Avery Rush, Assistant Editor

2020 altered the lives of nearly every person on the planet in some way. With the coronavirus continuing to bring financial, mental, social, and physical struggles for millions in the United States, the perils of this past year have left many feeling hopeless.

As the new year begins, La Salle students shared what they’re looking forward to and what they learned this past year.

Junior Ava Whalon struggled to stay motivated throughout 2020 due to the draining repetitiveness of quarantine. “Because of the various lockdowns and restrictions, everyday life seems really redundant and I have a hard time staying motivated,” Whalon said. 

Sophomore Harris Nguyen also struggled with the coronavirus closures, specifically the closing of schools. La Salle students have not received in-person instruction since March of 2020, only allowing Nguyen six months of on-campus high school experience so far.

“Sitting in a chair for six to seven hours is not the greatest feeling for learning and can be exhausting,” Nguyen said in regard to digital learning.

Senior Abby Sheets is uncertain about what the future holds, but hopes to make the most of her last year of high school. “I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but it would be great to go back to school in person for the rest of my senior year,” she said.

Online school has brought its own set of challenges for many students, but for some, with those challenges came opportunities to create new and unique school routines. 

While Whalon prefers the in-person and coronavirus-free school environment, she has been able to find some benefits to completing her school days in the comfort of her home. “I think it’s really nice to be able to have a little bit of a more relaxed schedule,” Whalon said. “I also enjoy being able to wear sweats every day if I want to, or make a coffee in between classes without having to rush.”

Something Nguyen prefers about online school is the secure environment, free of hurtful criticism from classmates. “I definitely prefer the privacy,” said Nguyen. “I can work without feeling like I’m constantly being watched or judged.”

Following Governor Brown’s recent modifications of the guidelines surrounding the return to campuses, students have not shied away from voicing their opinions on the matter. Some are excited to rejoin their classmates, while others are unsure if the decision is safe for the families of students.

Nguyen and Sheets are both looking forward to the possible return to in-person classes. “I’m very excited to return back to school,” Nguyen said. “[I’m] really looking forward to [seeing] what has changed in the past couple months. Also, I’m excited [to] see all my friends and make new ones.”

However, Whalon feels less enthusiastic about returning to in-person learning even though she feels that she performs better academically when on campus. “To me, the decision seems a bit premature and while I know I could really benefit from having in-person classes, the potential risk of it all makes me nervous and a bit more wary,” she said.

Despite the low points and negative nature of 2020, some people were able to find a silver lining. With the abundance of time spent at home, families were given the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company more than usual. 

“Even though I haven’t been able to see as many people in person, I’ve gotten the chance to spend more time with my family and strengthen my relationships,” Sheets said.

Another positive for some was the historic engagement in the conversations about social issues, as this year was a time of education and listening for millions of Americans and several of those at La Salle.

“This year I have really learned the importance of being educated and educating others,” Whalon said. “I have always been pretty knowledgeable about politics and social issues but this year more than ever it was made so clear how important that is.”

2020 has also been a time of personal growth for lots of people. The time alone has also allowed others to discover their interests and create goals for themselves.

Nguyen’s main goal for the new year is to start hosting a podcast talking about various ideas and theories. “I am inspired to try podcasting because I want to be able to have a connection with my audience,” Nguyen said. “Also, [being] able to provide entertainment for people brings me happiness.”

Whalon feels that she has successfully worked on self-love this year, while also enjoying the company of her close friends and family. “I would say I’ve actually become a much more confident person during 2020, which was a bit of a surprise to me,” she said.

For seniors, the loss of beloved activities due to the pandemic has been a tough pill to swallow as well. Particularly for La Salle students, the pandemic fell just days before the journey retreat, which is a highly anticipated event for many juniors and seniors.

Sheets was unable to attend the trip due to its cancelation, and is unsure if a possible replacement event would provide her with the same experience. “If they replace it with another retreat I doubt it will be the same as it would’ve been,” she said.

The opportunities for personal growth that came from this challenging year are among the most positive things to happen in 2020 for some. The immeasurable losses taught others to be grateful for the little things people often take for granted.

“I’ve learned and experienced how important it is to have strong and genuine relationships not only with others but with ourselves, especially when things get hard,” Sheets said.

Whalon also feels she has learned about the importance of treating others well and with respect, especially those who are less fortunate than us. “The pandemic and this year, in general, has really shed a light on some really trying issues and I hope that people continue to strive for change moving into the new year,” she said.