The 2020 Freshman Story: A Disappointing One?

The view of school seen from Charlottesville High School students.

Photo used under SPLC guidelines.

The view of school seen from Charlottesville High School students.

Kiran Matthews, Entertainment Editor

Every year, August brings a wave of new, wide-eyed Freshman students into the halls of Charlottesville High School. With excitement and nervousness, they begin the journey of their high school years and all the memories that come with them. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still causing serious concern, these high school halls have become Zoom windows. To upperclassmen, this change has been a disappointing one, but for freshmen and younger students, the change has taken away some of the best experiences they were hoping for and made the shift into maturity even harder. From this, a question has been raised: are Freshmen missing out on the high school experience?


In a recent poll, 51% of Freshman students felt as if they were “definitely missing out”, with many of them expressing their concerns of not being able to make new friends, or go to the long-awaited high school sports games. 


I feel like we are missing out on meeting new people and being able to hang out in person. We can’t do as much in class, and it’s harder to create a bond with people through a device,” said  Freshman M’lia Henderson. One of the major parts of everyday high school life is meeting new people through classes, clubs, sports, and more. 


With all of these things either postponed or in an online setting, human interaction has become an idea of silent screens and breakout rooms. Turning to the C.H.S guidance apartment for some reflection on the subject, they bring up the important aspect of student-teacher interaction.  “Turning on your camera, even though we know how easy it is to keep that screen dark and sink into anonymity in our bedrooms, is a HUGE first step toward feeling like we’re truly being seen.  It matters for your teachers to see the light in your eyes and the expressions on your faces.”. Imagine performing a play or playing a sport with absolutely no one in the stands…you can still pull it off, but something important is missing: the collective energy of the people. While continued virtual interactions can seem pointless, they are a big step to become part of the C.H.S. community.


Along with this, one of the major things Freshmen look forward to are the well known C.H.S. Black Knight sports games. One of the most memorable parts of the beginning of school is attending these fully-packed, theme attired football games, which Freshmen have waited for through their middle school years. While sports have been postponed, and these once filled stands have been left empty, there is no longer that exciting Friday night feeling of dressing up with your friends and pulling up to watch our Black Knight athletes. We hear and see how disappointing this can be, and for Freshmen looking to join these teams and be able to share their talents within collective teams for the first time, waiting can take a serious toll. 


The situation right now is tough — there’s no other way to put it — and the feelings of Freshmen are heard and acknowledged by upperclassmen and staff here at C.H.S.With hopes for in-person classes being brought back soon, all students can do is try to find some peace with moving forward. As Freshman Ta’Niyah Brown put, “Hopefully everything turns out okay,” which is a frequent thought in many of our minds. Finding ways to continue through these hard times are challenging and it is important to look for support through family, teachers, and friends.