Yes, I am talking to you. Since this is going in a newspaper, you probably didn’t find it on your own. Odds are some adults handed this to you and you’re reading it begrudgingly, if at all.
I’m sure many of you are experiencing mixed feelings about returning to school. When I talked to some Neelyville students at the beginning of last year, one thing I heard is that they didn’t really like school. That’s not a unique thing.
However, is it possible those opinions changed after nearly five months away from school? I guess it’s possible, but I don’t think it’s likely.
As much as I liked school, at least the learning part of it, I’m not about to change those opinions either.
I would like you to remember something as you prepare this week to return to in-person classes: you control what this year will be.
Obviously, the end of the 2019-20 school year didn’t go as planned and nobody could have really impacted that.
However, you’re entering this year with knowledge about this situation and an appreciation of what you lost.
Nobody can truly predict what’s going to happen in the school year to come.
You can influence it though by being aware of your health and taking precautions to keep yourself and your classmates safe.
Take it from somebody who developed asthma and later a form of chronic pneumonia in high school, dealing with respiratory issues while trying to enjoy your senior year is not a pleasant experience.
If you’re concerned about something, talk to your teachers and principals. They care about you and your health. Don’t be ashamed to speak up about anything you’re worried about.
My other piece of advice heading into the year, enjoy what you get.
While it isn’t what anybody wants, it is possible that your year will be cut short again, or at least interrupted. Any of you could experience a time as fully online students or have to maneuver a hybrid system where you may not be in class with your friends because they’re at home the days you’re at school.
There will probably be warning signs before it comes, if it does, but we don’t know how much of a warning you might get.
So don’t take things for granted this year.
Even if you don’t like school, enjoy being there with your friends.
As you complain about reading assignments and math problems, appreciate having them.
Most importantly, be kind to the other students and to your teachers.
Everybody is going through the same worries, anxieties, or mixed emotions about returning to school.
Talk about them, listen to each other and support each other, not just for this school year, but going into the future.
Shine is a reporter for the Daily American Republic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .