Column: I’m feeling ’22

Column: Im feeling 22

Kristen Baurain, Cartoonist and Photographer

‘22 is the only remaining class to have experienced a full year of high school pre-covid. High school as we remember it will never be quite the same again—and we can make that a good thing. 

The rhythm of freshman year echoes in my memory: pop songs on music Fridays. Boomboxes on ‘80s workout day. Stomping on the bleachers during the teachers vs. students dodgeball game. Making it through MHS before, during, and after lockdown is something I’ll always be grateful for. It’s given me an idea of the “traditional high school years” I missed out on, and perspective on our unique chance to redefine that experience.

I know a lot of us want to collectively erase covid from memory and move on. I know we are sick of Zoom glitches, of Blackboard, of being told to just make the best of things. I know I am. But is the norm really worth returning to? Before covid, the US was already falling behind global education in many ways. I think MHS can do better. 

For the past 150 years, education has remained stagnant, even as technology has advanced. According to the Foundation for Economic Education, school still follows the same model: 20-30 kids sitting in a classroom, getting the same experience regardless of individual needs. We are no exception. For instance, unlike surrounding districts like Highland, MHS only integrated eLearning when covid forced us. 

But it’s not the 1870s anymore. It’s high time we made a widespread and coordinated effort to embrace the potential of technology, not to replace but enhance in-person instruction: student feedback, recorded lectures, virtual attendance, collaborative notes. The possibilities are endless.

Now, I’m hearing those rock ‘n roll-like refrains fill the hallways again: gossip, encouragement, random snatches of overheard conversations. But intermingled with the traditional angst and awkwardness, I hear a new chord—a whole lot of questions. What did we used to do? What if we did this instead? Will we miss our chance for change, and rush back to business as usual? Or will post-covid generations and a new principal use this disruption to give MHS a much-needed reboot?