Anzela Cannizzaro

South Burlington High School junior Anzela Cannizzaro, far right, with her friends the first week back at school.

Name: Anzhela Cannizzaro

Grade: 11

Pronouns: She/Her

TOP: How was the first week of school? Does it feel back to normal or still weird because of the pandemic?

AC: It was weird having so many people in the halls to navigate around. I’m still used to half the amount.

TOP: What are you most looking forward to doing this year? What are you least looking forward to?

AC: I’m looking forward to school dances and activity days that we didn’t get in the past few years. I feel like I’ve missed out on part of the high school experience so far.

TOP: How is this school year different from last year so far?

AC: It feels lonelier. Last year there were so few students, and in effect, we were all very close-knit and I made some really amazing connections. But this year there are students that feel like strangers. They’re all familiar but not friends.

TOP: How does it feel to be back full-time with the other students and teachers?

AC: It’s exhausting, but also really nice. I really enjoyed the little classes. It made asking questions and learning and connecting so much easier. But I have also missed so many of the students that went on the other days, and it feels so uniting to have them back.

TOP: If you play sports, do performing arts, or play music, did you get to do those activities last year? And how do you feel about them this school year?

AC: I’m into choral arts and singing. This year is already much better because we can stand a little closer, which helps the power of the chorus because you can hear each other enough to amplify your section. Last year we were all very spread out and when you’re that far away with masks it’s incredibly hard to hear over all that plus the fans. With so few people in the class, everyone was scared to sing in front of each other. There was one other soprano in my section last year and it was scary singing in front of the whole class all quiet. It’s much better this year, having that confidence back.

TOP: What is one cool fact you’ve learned so far?

AC: In (advance placement) psych, I learned that right from birth babies can identify their mother from their voice and scent.

TOP: It’s still early, but do you have any hopes or fears for this school year?

AC: I hope to do well academically, scoring well on ACT/SAT, maintaining a good grade point average. But also socially, I want to befriend all these students I haven’t seen for so long.

Name: Luke Nelson

Grade: 11

Pronouns: He/Him

TOP: How was the first week of school? Does it feel back to normal, or still weird because of the pandemic?

LN: It feels good to be back. I’m never excited to return to school because that means the close of summer and endless time to have fun, but I’ll admit the familiarity is nice — so is the social aspect. It isn’t quite like it was pre-COVID, but it doesn’t feel weird. I guess this is the new normal, and being back in the building with what we have is similar enough to a typical school year.

TOP: What are you most looking forward to doing this year? What are you least looking forward to?

LN: Sports are what I’m looking forward to. Around this time each year I always start itching to get out on my snowboard, and I feel a lot of progress is coming this season. Also, I started playing lacrosse this past spring which is loads of fun, even as the rookie. Excited for that. On the other side of things, I’ll never like the technical aspects of school like missing out on sleep and losing time that I could be doing things that I enjoy. Homework sucks.

TOP: How is this school year different from last year so far?

LN: The one thing I noticed right off the bat is the contrast between 2/3 and 5 days a week. Since I work on Saturday and Sunday, after school is now my only chance to hang out with my friends and relax. But that’s also when I should be doing homework, so one of them has to get prioritized. Usually not the homework. Having the extra days off last year was like having an extra-long weekend, as long as I got all my assignments done by the time I had to be there in person.

TOP: How does it feel to be back full time with the other students and teachers?

LN: It’s great. I forgot some people even went to this school because I didn’t see them at all last year. The building feels livelier. I like not having to go weeks or months without seeing those friends who I could not often see outside of school but went on the other days.

TOP: What was your favorite part of the first week? Least favorite?

LN: My favorite parts have been catching up with friends and seeing my favorite teachers. Least favorite was being stuck in a class that I was trying to switch out of, but I finally got it corrected and was able to start week two with the right schedule.

TOP: If you play sports, do performing arts, or play music, did you get to do those activities last year? And how do you feel about them this school year?

LN: I do all of the above. I was on the snowboarding and lacrosse teams last year, but the snowboarding season started in January instead of November or December. We had to wear masks for both. Chorus class was still happening, but for a lot of the year we could not sing inside and had to find other ways to sing and other things to do in class. When we were allowed to (sing inside) it was for limited time, spaced apart and masked up. Very unusual. We typically put on a fall musical, which last year took the form of a radio play that was only audio, prerecorded instead of live performance, and done entirely online. Regarding sports, I am hopeful that we won’t have to wear masks. Singing indoors is now approved, but still with a time limit and of course wearing masks. As of right now there is no director for the drama department, but if someone steps up in time, I assume theater will be how the one acts were last spring — normal but with masks.

TOP: What is one cool fact you’ve learned so far?

LN: Pendulums of the same length with different masses have the same period. Who’d of thought.

TOP: It’s still early, but do you have any hopes or fears for this school year?

LN: I hope we’ll stop being required to wear masks by the end of the year. Not counting on it.

TOP: Anything else you want to add?

LN: I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that we are in school five days a week, everyone’s there, we have full length classes, etc. While COVID sucks no less now than it did a year and a half ago, I’m trying to focus on and be grateful for the good things.

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