From Online to in Person, Four La Salle Freshmen Share Their Experiences


Lukas Werner

This year’s freshman were able to begin the school year fully in person, after experiencing some or all of their eighth grade years online.

Natalia Gonzalez and Kathleen Waldron

After almost two years of online and hybrid learning, four La Salle freshmen talked with The Falconer about their transition into high school and their hopes for the coming year.

A community that Caldwell is looking forward to participating in during her time at La Salle is the theater department. (Lukas Werner)

Kira Caldwell:

Before coming into La Salle, Kira Caldwell attended Holy Family Catholic School. When asked about what her eighth-grade year looked like she said “we were online until March, when we finally got to go in person.” 

“At lunch we weren’t allowed to talk,” said Caldwell, providing a glimpse of Caldwells dramatically different eighth-grade year.

Despite that year of uncertainty, Caldwell has high hopes for La Salle. The community and theater department is what brought her here.

Caldwell recalls that coming into the La Salle community came with feelings of nervousness. “Meeting all the new teachers, new friends, and getting used to the campus,” she said, was the most nerve-wracking part of starting high school. 

“I feel more comfortable now, and am finally getting used to everything,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell is seeking new opportunities this year, including joining La Salle’s dance team. “I am excited to perform at the football game,” she said. Along with taking on the theater elective class to immerse herself into the department, Caldwell also dances for a studio outside of school.

With all the change that comes with starting at a new school, Caldwell is settling into her new community. She is hopeful that by the end of the year she will “be used to everything” and have her classes memorized.

Kuntz was unable to return to school in person during his eighth-grade year, which was “kind of miserable,” he said. (Lukas Werner)

Owen Kuntz:

Freshman Owen Kuntz is kicking off his time at La Salle by participating in cross country, as well as the fall play, where he will serve on the stage crew for the Theater department’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Before coming to La Salle, Kuntz attended Rosemont Ridge middle school. He stayed online throughout his entire eighth-grade year which was “kind of miserable,” he said. Kuntz mentioned that he had a hard time contacting his teachers and “the material wasn’t very good” and that the virtual coursework at his school was not what he was hoping for.

Because of online school, Kuntz said that socializing with his friends was “rare,” and when it did happen “it was masks on, six feet, outdoors.”

As a sense of normalcy begins to return, Kuntz is happy with his decision to come to La Salle.

 “My uncle went here a couple years back,” he said. “He really enjoyed it.” Kuntz said that this was a big reason that he ultimately decided to come to La Salle.

Kuntz has taken an interest in Theatrical Production and Design and went on to say it is his favorite class so far. Kuntz said that he had some anxiety about attending a college prep school, but was pleasantly surprised.“I was more worried about how I think the school work would have been a lot harder especially with private education,” he said. “[But] it isn’t as bad as I thought.”

Kuntz said he has enjoyed being able to meet new classmates since returning to school. “It’s nice because the school is so small, so you’re kind of forced to meet people,” he said. With the challenge of not regularly socializing with people for a year, Kuntz has enjoyed the freedom to meet and talk to new people in his classes.

Something that Kuntz has found an appreciation for at La Salle is the block-style schedule, as he prefers not having all of his classes over the span of a single school day.

Kuntz is excited for this coming year and what it holds for him. “Just meeting more people, as many people as I can,” he said. “Working on education and academics so I can get the swing of it for future years in high school.”

Konze is grateful that she was able to return to in-person learning as she felt that it made her transition into high school a lot easier. (Lukas Werner)

Greta Konze:

For freshman Greta Konze, meeting new people was what she was most nervous about when starting high school. “It’s been good so far,” she said.

Konze, who participates in soccer, felt like that also helped her connect with other people. Currently, the team has been doing well as they have a record of 4-1. “It’s going good,” she said. “We haven’t lost a game yet.” 

Although the transition into high school can be hard, Konze feels that being able to return to in-person learning last year helped make the jump from middle school a bit easier. 

As Konze continues to navigate her classes, she said that she has not yet found a favorite class or teacher because she enjoys them all. 

Konze said she finds her workload to be pretty manageable. “Probably [an] hour on a heavy day,” she said. “Maybe [an] hour and a half [at] most.”

All in all, Konze said she’s feeling pretty good about high school, however, she is a little worried about COVID-19 affecting things and having to quarantine. “I feel like it could happen because there’s always that possibility,” she said. Despite Konze’s concerns about the pandemic, she said that if people are careful and follow proper protocols, she thinks things should be okay.

Spencer is excited for his first year of high school after having an eight grade year at home which, “kind of sucked,” he said. (Lukas Werner)

Geddy Spencer:

Geddy Spencer faced part of his eighth-grade year at St. John the Baptist, completely virtually due to the coronavirus. “Homeschool kind of sucked,” he said. Mid-year, Spencer was able to return to St. John the Baptist, where he completed his eighth-grade year. 

Spencer said that he decided to come to La Salle because a lot of his friends were planning to attend as well. “I just wanted to be in an environment where I felt comfortable,” he said. 

Spencer is a member of the football team and he also plays basketball. In addition to football and basketball, Spencer said he is thinking of trying tennis out later on.

Outside of athletics, he also plays the cello but is “just focusing on sports and just getting the groove of high school,” he said. 

Playing sports is also what helped Spencer connect with people. He said he wasn’t as nervous for the first day of school because “I knew the entire football team and basketball [team].” 

Spencer said that his workload right now is a little heavy, but he is figuring it out. 

Right now, Spencer said that he is most excited about homecoming and the weekly football games. “It’s a highlight of the week definitely,” he said. 

Due to coronavirus exposures on the football team, Spencer had to quarantine, leaving him unable to attend La Salle in person just a couple of weeks into the school year. He said that his math class presented the most challenges for him during his quarantine, but he was able to adjust.

The football team has faced challenges with COVID-19, but “we’re all just rolling with it,” he said. “ Life punches us, we just punch back [and] keep rolling.”