After a long year of online learning in quarantine due to COVID-19, many schools are starting to open up their campuses again, with safety mandates. However, it is no surprise that many students will have a hard time adjusting to in-person school again, especially when freshmen and sophomores have no idea what high school is really like, due to not being in physical classrooms since middle school. Valencia High School’s, VHS’, vocal music department has come up with a way to help students get situated again.
Before the pandemic, VHS’ choir program had a “siblings” event, where newer choir members would be assigned to returning members, also known as an “older sibling.” Besides exchanging gifts at one performance, there wasn’t much to this. However, the choir has decided to improve upon this idea and bring it back this school year. One member explained, “Back when we had the choir siblings, I rarely got the opportunity to see or talk to my “sibling” since we were in different choirs. I hope we can expand on this idea, since I do think it could turn out well.”
Due to half of the school being quite unfamiliar with how things work around campus, the choir’s student council has decided to create a support system, consisting of upperclassmen for underclassmen to rely on as a guide for both choir and school in general. Each student may be assigned to a “sibling,” and perhaps even multiple. This way, students will always know where to turn to for help. A student on the council stated that “When I was a freshman, I didn’t have to worry about the pandemic, but I still remember feeling lost at times and not being sure who to ask my endless questions to. I think this new version of choir siblings will be very helpful, especially with people coming fresh out of virtual school.”
Hopefully, programs like this will not be limited to just VHS’ choir members. Implementing more support programs gives students the opportunity to help each other succeed. Upperclassmen are able to act as positive role models and guide their peers with their transition into in-person high school and give them the experience they missed out on. Quarantine and online school has caused extreme changes in students’ routines, causing some to have a hard time adapting to the new setting. But taking the time to create more opportunities for students to help each other can be beneficial for everyone.
Jasmine Jhun, Grade 11
Valencia High School