March To March Madness


By Althea Cunningham

In March 2022, I was grateful that I was able to enjoy a normal spring break than compared to March 2020.

Althea Cunningham, reporter

In March 2020, I enjoyed the blessing of a two-week extension on my spring break. Unfortunately for myself and many students across the nation, that blessing turned into a curse.

Two weeks turned into an entire summer.

There were no signs of things returning to normal, and soon I got word that I would be starting my junior year online.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the rate of students failing classes was higher than ever. McKinley High School made numerous adaptations in scheduling, and teaching to accommodate students.

I tried to stay on top of my subjects as best I could, but soon I started to slip.

Every night, I pulled all-nighters to complete assignments. It did not help that I saw my smartest peers struggling as well. After all, they were at the top of the class. if they could not do it how could I? This dangerous mentality stuck with me for most of the year even as hybrid learning became an option.

I took the hybrid learning option in an attempt to see my friends and teachers, even if it was limited to six feet with a mask on.

I believed it would motivate me and give me the boost I needed to get back on track. That plan was shut down when I found out I was alone in most of my classes. In some cases, I was awkwardly working with two or three classmates I didn’t know very well.

During the year of endless nightly grinding, historic international events were happening like the controversial 2020 presidential election, widespread protests against systemic racism, the Asian hate crimes, and the end of the war in Afghanistan. It felt unreal. There was so much happening in the world while I was doing my homework at 3a.m.

I found comfort in my extracurricular activities: Newswriting and JROTC. I should’ve been prioritizing my core and AP classes but simply had no energy to do so. I was immensely grateful for summer break and I tried to recover my sleep schedule as much as possible.

Coming back to school for my senior year, things were different, and I am not talking about the new safety procedures of maintaining space and cleaning desks and wearing masks. The attitude of the student body had shifted. Freshmen and sophomores were wild and disrespectful. McKinley had had problems with theft, vandalism and vaping before, but now it was taken to a whole new level. Bathrooms were being mistreated and temporarily closed in several buildings. Juniors and seniors overall were tired and just wanted to graduate. My friends and I have been accepted into our colleges and we are ready to start a new chapter in life.

In March 2022, I was grateful that I was able to enjoy a normal spring break than compared to March 2020. I was able to come back to experience homecoming and the traditional Lighting of the M in person with my peers. These past two years have been anything but normal. We all faced unique hardships in our lives during this time, and the lessons we learned will stick with us. Hopefully, by next March our lives will be less mad.