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Back in session: Local high schools ring in first day

New students at Bear River High School gather to see their school schedules before the bell rings on the first morning of school Tuesday.
Photo: Elias Funez

That’s a wrap on summer — at least for the many high school students who returned to their classrooms on Tuesday.

After a turbulent high school experience, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, kids are finding that things are changing now that restrictions have largely been lifted.

Aislinn Welch, a 10th grader at Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, said she is happy that face masks are now optional.

“It’s definitely different,” Welch said. “I like actually seeing people’s faces and not wondering what they look like. Last year, I didn’t know what people looked like at all.”

The climate of school has changed since the pandemic as well, according to Nevada Union senior Darla Bender.

Bear River teacher Mike Decicco introduces himself to his first period digital photography class Tuesday morning at Bear River High School.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We’ve gotten maybe a year of normal in total,” Bender said, “like half of last year and our first half of freshman year was normal, but after that it’s been a bunch of COVID restrictions.

“It was irritating and stressful because of the online (classes). I am not good at that; I have to be in class.

“It’s definitely more split up than when we first started here because of COVID,” Bender continued. “It’s like everyone’s opinions split (us) in half. It’s just a lot more cliquey.”

Senior Kai Antoni agreed.

“The way parents’ political opinions affect children,” Antoni said, “especially with the whole pandemic, and how everything is so politicized and it’s the different parties against each other and it affects the kids so much.”

Students make their way to their first classes of the 2022-2023 school year Tuesday morning.
Photo: Elias Funez

Still, the seniors are looking forward to a productive school year, though they said that graduation can’t come soon enough.

“I am excited and nervous,” Bender said. “It’s the first day of school and I already have senioritis.”

Fellow Nevada Union senior Ryne Allen has his own advice for upcoming classes.

“Just don’t be afraid to talk to people,” Allen said. “Make sure and meet as many people as you can (and) stay positive.”

Students are helped in finding their classrooms on the first day of school.
Photo: Elias Funez


Travel and waterways seemed to be a theme over the summer for the high schoolers.

Allison Fuller is now in her sophomore year at Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning. When she was not playing piano and enjoying history lessons during her time off, she hit the beach with her family.

“I went on vacation to Maui and saw my friends a lot and also went to the Yuba,” she said. “I feel like (summer) went by pretty fast. I am excited to be back at school because I love seeing my friends and teachers and learning new things.”

Jaden Ross-Glenn said he was ready to be back at school as well and was well-rested for the first day.

A Bear River High School student gets some help finding her first class.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I got 17 hours of sleep the night before,” he explained. “I’m glad to be back.” His summer, he said, consisted of working, vacationing, and breaking bones.

Ross-Glenn’s classmate Dashiel Coffin kept busy as well.

“I did a medical program in the hospital for a couple of days and then I just hung out with friends, went to the river a lot. I got back into mountain biking. I’m glad to be back. I’d rather be on summer break of course, but I am glad. I like this school.”

Students mingle with one another prior to the first bell Tuesday morning.
Photo: Elias Funez

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com



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