Junior Achievement Special Section
girl on couch with laptop
When Schools Closed in March 2020
By Briley Loncar

hen schools closed in March 2020, I was in eighth grade. At first when I heard that we would not be going back to school after spring break, I was happy. I thought I would just have a longer spring break. I quickly realized that school was going to change.

When I first logged in to virtual school, my teachers were very encouraging. They told us that we would all make it through, and even though it was scary, we would make it through together. I didn’t realize at first how serious the pandemic would be. At first it was hard to set a routine and attend school at home, but my homework wasn’t that bad. Then it became draining. Staying focused and motivated became hard because every day was the same. It’s not as fun going to school at home because you are not around your friends. I felt isolated and stuck because I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere.

I was glad to have my family at home with me; some of my peers did not have parents who could work from home, and that was hard for them. My family would gather around the kitchen table with our laptops and go to school and work. My cat, Chicken, would often lie in the middle of our table and we would work together all day. I missed sports (I played volleyball). I missed going to the movies, dances, and hanging out with people besides my family in general. At the end of eighth grade there is usually a graduation ceremony for students, but because of the pandemic, we could not have it in person. My teachers created a virtual graduation ceremony, and parents made us boxes with graduation hats and cookies, but I could not help but think about how much I missed things that I never had the opportunity to experience.

I started high school in the middle of the pandemic. That was also difficult because I found it even harder to focus and study, especially with a whole class of students I didn’t know, teachers I didn’t recognize, and subjects that I had never studied before. Some of my teachers required us to turn on our cameras, even though it was super awkward for everybody. Some of my teachers I never even got to meet.

I do remember participating in the JA Inspire Virtual Career Fair. My favorite booths to visit were the Kaladi Brothers booth, the FedEx booth, and the Northrim Bank booth. My brother even applied for a job with FedEx at the event and started working there over the summer. I also watched presentations from Mark Cuban and shareholders from Koniag that were super interesting.

I started my tenth grade year in person. Things at school still do not seem back to normal, but at least I am able to see my friends every day. I feel hopeful for the future. I still want to go to college and travel and get a really good job that I love. I am grateful to our community for doing everything it can to end the pandemic, and I promise to do my part.