HB students reflect on the pandemic, exactly one year later


Amanda Brown

Google Classroom and Zoom have become a part of everyday learning at Hollis Brookline. After going remote exactly one year ago today, students have become rather adept at this new style learning.

Journalism 1 and 2 Staff, Staff Writers

Hollis Brookline students reflect on the pandemic, exactly one year after they were told they would be going remote “temporarily.”

“This exact day last this year was the last time I saw my school friends until fall. I did not get to hang out with my friends over the summer at all. The closest I got to them was a drive by at one of my friend’s houses. I did not realize that it would come to this and that everyone wanted to stay home and how serious it is. So until fall I did not see any of my friends so when I came back it was a relief to see them again.” Abigail Brown

“A week and a half after being sent home from school, I was celebrating my 17th birthday by eating takeout with just my parents. I don’t think I’ve ever had a birthday where I’m not hanging out with a few friends. It hit me that it was going to be an unconventional summer and beyond.” Dan Aulbach

“When I would come home from my after school job at the town daycare, my parents would make me stay six feet away with my mask on in the house; until I would completely change my clothes, wash my hands, and take a shower. This was after I spent the last three hours of my shift soaking spit covered legos and barbie dolls in a mixture of hot water and bleach.” Hannah Escandon ‘21

“A couple weeks into remote learning for St. Mark’s when a mass email was sent to the whole school saying we would each need to sign up for a time slot to clean out our dorm rooms and ‘pack it up,’ I knew we would be in this for the long run.” Brandon Hsu

“On March 11, I had the second round of playoffs for the school’s basketball team. We had been on a 13-0 game winning streak and I was excited to play in the same energized court we did the night before. But after a hectic day of not knowing if we were able play, when our coach finally told us the game was canceled I knew this was going to be one change of many.” Adam Razzaboni

“During my last class, Painting, was when we got the announcement that we weren’t coming back to school. It was dark outside and I already had my binders and books with me to bring home just in case.” Caitlin Treacy

“The moment I knew life wouldn’t be normal again for a while is March 11th. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had just got diagnosed with Covid which resulted in the entire NBA being shut down. Arenas of 45,000+ people were left abandoned in an instant. It took someone famous and in the spotlight to contract Covid for me to realize how serious the situation was.” Tyler Hutchinson

“I went to Chipotle a few days after school closed. I had to place a mobile order because they weren’t allowing walk-ins. The roads were empty and my biggest fear was touching the door handles on my way in to pick up my food. Hardly anyone had real masks to wear, so I pulled my shirt up over my nose. Turns out you still have to use mobile ordering at Chipotle and can’t eat inside– things haven’t been the same since.” Caroline Clark

“Last year about a week before we all got sent home I was mid-way through my workout at my local gym. The person who ran it came out and told everyone that we all needed to leave and wipe down everything we used because, ‘As of now no one is allowed to be in here.’ From that point on, everything changed and the virus outbreak was all anyone was talking about. I hadn’t taken it too seriously and didn’t think we’d all get sent home, but soon enough it became a reality to everyone that we would all be stuck home and there wasn’t anything we could do about it.” Adam Rayan

“When I was at work, I would sanitize my hands until they became dried and cracked. I welcomed the sting of the antibacterial on my paper cuts & developed the habit of twiddling the little bottle of sanitizer in my hands- like it was a lifeline. I became more concerned about forgetting my hand sanitizer than my forgetting my phone.” Aya Kingsley

“My family was on our way back from our school February Vacation trip to Maui, Hawaii and we had a connection flight in Los Angeles International Airport. We saw people on both flights and in the unusually empty terminals wearing masks and already practicing social distancing before it was mandatory. That’s when it hit me and I knew we would be in this COVID-19 pandemic for the long haul.” Rory Klauber

“When we got the call that we would not be returning back to school in person. Our two week ‘break’ that was supposed to be fun was over, our spring sports were canceled, and I realized it was going to be months before I saw my friends again.”-Morgan Broadhurst
“It had occurred to me that life was going to be different when I couldn’t go see my grandmother on her birthday. Years and years of family parties came to a stop. I had no clue when the next time I could see her in person was.” Grace Sheehy

“When Mrs. Brown told our class that we wouldn’t be coming back to school the next week, I knew that it would last much longer. It was right after my big ACL repair surgery and I remember having mixed feelings about staying home. I knew that it would be much easier to get around my house than the large school building, and little things such as this really helped me cope with the first few months after the pandemic hit the US. For better or for worse, the pandemic drastically changed my recovery and rehabilitation process.” Cayden Plummer ‘21

“The moment when we went home from school that first day in Foods class when I heard we were getting shut down, I thought this was nothing and we would be back in a couple weeks. I also had my trip to Georgia to see my Grandpa had been cancelled. Luckily a year later, I will be seeing him this July. A month later Spring Sports were cancelled and all New Hampshire Schools had been shut down from in person learning for the rest of the year. At that moment I had been waiting nearly 9 months for the spring sport season, and to finish out my junior year. Instead, we were forced to stay at home and away from others. This was the moment I realized a good chunk of my High School experience was eliminated because of Covid-19. A year later, I’m looking forward to making a championship run with the team.” Joseph O’Reilly ‘21

“When we came back from Spain, the Covid19 pandemic was just beginning to spread. There were only 2 cases in Spain. Two days after coming back, they closed down all the airports. From then, I knew we would not be traveling anywhere for a very long time. Since then I have been staying at home and not leaving the house. It got boring after a while. This year, during February break was the first time I had traveled anywhere far in a year. Sehar Gogia

“I knew my life was going to be changed when my dad (a VP of a pharmaceutical company in Boston), who normally has a calm, easy going demeanor started to prep in late February. He knew it was going to be bad. When my Mom, brothers and I came back from our trip to Disney over February break, my dad had already stocked up non-perishable foods, toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfectant in fear we would be home for months without access to a grocery store. A section of our basement that used to be filled with useless old toys was now dedicated to food storage and extra disinfectant. As the weeks went on, the beautiful fruit bowl on the buffet in our foyer was now full of homemade masks, rubbing alcohol, and cotton rounds. By March 13, my family was fully prepared to be home for a long period of time. Rachel Brown ‘23

“I knew that things were not going to be normal once I received the email cancelling the tickets I got for a concert. The concert at the time was still a couple months away but it didn’t matter they were still going to cancel it and I realized that they had expected this pandemic to go on longer than a couple weeks.” Jack Duval

“At the beginning of 2020, it was announced that my favorite K-pop group, BTS, would embark on another tour. The closest show was in New Jersey, and it happened to be 3 days before my 18th birthday. I waited for a little while in order to try and persuade my family to let us go as it was close to my birthday. However, before I could even get tickets and plan for the trip, it was announced that the tour would be cancelled because of the pandemic. Concerts are a huge source of my happiness. Not being able to go and enjoy the music live that I love still hurts.” Grace Blaisdell

“I remember sitting in my AP US History class and my phone buzzed. I looked down to check it and I had an email saying ‘WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic.’ My group members just laughed it off, not realizing how much things were about to change. The reality set in a few days later during a trip to the grocery store, when the majority of the shelves were completely empty. It felt like a scene out of an apocalypse movie. Later that day, my family and I got the call that we would be remote indefinitely, and I knew that life wouldn’t be the same for a long time.” Sean Tisa ‘21

“The moment my managers called us all up to the front to tell us that the store would be closing for about three weeks. I had thought to myself it would be a nice little break from both work and school. But once a couple weeks went by, everything started closing and I had to cancel my Florida trip, I realized it wouldn’t be just a little break.” Lucy Coulombe

“When my weekly meeting with friends in the next town stopped was when it hit me. I haven’t seen them in over a year now and only began talking to them about possibly meeting up again because of our vaccinations.” Noah Doran