Springfield High students talk about being back, and what they missed

by April Lisante
Posted 9/24/21

The hallways are buzzing once again at the Springfield Township High School, as students settle in for a second week of in-person classes to start the 2021-22 school year.

While the building is at …

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Springfield High students talk about being back, and what they missed

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The hallways are buzzing once again at the Springfield Township High School, as students settle in for a second week of in-person classes to start the 2021-22 school year.

While the building is at near-capacity, perhaps no students are happier than the seniors, who haven’t experienced an uninterrupted school year live and in-person since they were freshmen.

It’s awe-inspiring to consider what these students from the class of 2022 have gone through in the almost two years since Covid-19 changed the course of history and their high school experience. They were sophomores when they left school in March 2020 and watched as seniors that June didn’t even have a graduation.

This year, Springfield Township students were given the option to return to full time in-person learning, or to enroll in a virtual program called the Montgomery Virtual Program, which offers K-12 elective and AP classes and uses Pennsylvania state teachers and curriculums. While some of the high school students returned in person last April after spring break, others remained virtual until this past week. Either way, hallways hadn’t been crowded for a long time, and many students hadn’t seen one another for more than a year.  

Two of the seniors who returned this week to the school on Paper Mill Road were Jessica Iller and Anna Posluszny. Posluszny, a Flourtown native, and Iller, of Oreland, are friends who’ve endured a very trying high school experience.

When they got back to school last Wednesday the 8th, they couldn’t even differentiate the freshmen from the sophomores in the halls, since they hadn’t met any of them. A poignant reality if there ever was one. The girls sat down with the Local this week to reflect on just how their view of high school will always be a bit different because of the pandemic.

“The hardest part is that our whole high school experience has been altered by this,” said Posluszny, who plans to study accounting in college. “We really only had our freshman year, and now we already have to apply to college. We didn’t have the level of education and the high school experience other kids had.

“And it was kind of lonely because you have school friends you see and talk to in school and we went a whole year without seeing them,” she added.

Thrown back into a full course load last week and a flurry of college-prep work to tackle, it was truly a shock to hit the hallways after so much virtual time.

“You’re juggling going back and working in person, the workload being more than it was a year ago, and then also writing essays and talking to guidance counsellors about college,” Posluszny said. “We only had freshman year.”

The seniors really feel badly for those students who might not have had a great freshman year. “If your freshman year wasn’t good, then you really didn’t have a good high school experience,” added Iller, who wants to study to be a pre-physician’s assistant in college.

Being at home wasn’t a cake walk. It was lonely not seeing friends, and it was hard to stay focused in an at-home workspace for so long. Some classes, like chemistry, Iller said, just weren’t the same without hands-on labs. Some teachers asked students to leave microphones on during exams and it was hard to mute out the sounds of everyday household life in the background.

“It was hard to ask teachers questions over Zoom,” Posluszny said. “And it was hard to stay motivated.”

“It was hard because you were in a different workspace and you’d get distracted,” Iller said.

Now, the focus for Posluszny, Iller and other seniors is staying the course as they apply to college and making it through the year - hopefully in person. College applications are already rolling out this week, believe it or not. But it’s the short term that has them all a bit concerned.

“We’re all placing bets on when we are going to have to go home again,” Iller said. “Because Covid is not going away.”

Making it to graduation next June is one of the seniors’ ultimate goals. And boy, after all they’ve been through, these kids deserve to have the most quintessential of high school experiences - the experience of throwing that hat in the air.

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