ALX Kids: Three ways the coronavirus has impacted an eighth grader

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ALX Kids: Three ways the coronavirus has impacted an eighth grader
A student participates in distance learning. (File Photo)
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By Jeremy Young

As a 14-year-old eighth grader with some time on his hands, I thought it would be nice to share the three main ways that the coronavirus has affected my life: athletically, academically and socially.

Athletics

As everyone knows, all athletics for the spring have been canceled, which is definitely a major downside to this virus. The Alexandria Country Day School boys’ varsity basketball team finished the regular season 8-3, and we had won in the semifinals, which landed us our spot to play in the league championship.

Jeremy Young. (Courtesy Photo)

For eighth grade basketball players like me, this was a big deal. We worked all season long to play on the playoff stage against a team that had beaten us before. To have the game canceled was definitely not the way we planned to finish our ACDS basketball careers.

The other way this affected my sports plans was through baseball. Last year, the intermediate Alexandria All Star team, which I was a part of, won the district, beating out Arlington and Mclean. We traveled to Hampton, Virginia to play in the state tournament, where we finished third in the state. For those of us who were hoping to return to All Stars this year and make another run for the state, this was definitely unfortunate.

Academics

Academically, as someone who already has high school plans, I may not be affected as much. However, one thing I am missing is unique to ACDS.

We have a program for fifth through eighth graders called “Speeches and Sweets,” where every student writes a speech and performs it in front of a live audience. This is one of the most important programs at ACDS.

For eighth graders, it is the last time they will perform a speech in front of the audience, and it is a big deal. Eighth graders were supposed to perform at school at the end of May, but because of the virus, we will instead be performing via Zoom. While this will definitely take away some of the stress of having to stand at the podium and look out at the many parents and other students, it will also take away some of the satisfaction when we are done.

Another important event at ACDS that will be changed because of the coronavirus is graduation. While middle school graduation is by no means as big of a deal as high school or college graduation, it is still very important for parents, teachers and students.

I have spent nine years at ACDS, and since my brother and sister are two years older than me, I have spent 11 years in or around the school. Because of this, I am glad that ACDS is having a graduation with everyone in their cars. The graduate will get out when their name is called. While this is very different from the normal graduation, I am glad that we will be able to be at the school and see everyone else.

Social life

In many ways, the social aspect of being an eighth grader has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. Zoom doesn’t give us the same chance to interact with our classmates that we would have at school, and I know that we all miss being able to see and talk to our friends. Two of the events that my classmates and I will be missing the most at ACDS are our last dance and the trip to Puerto Rico.

At ACDS, there are three dances throughout the year for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. The last dance for eighth graders is especially important because they get to stay after for an extra thirty minutes. Because our last dance was canceled, it looks like the only one we’ll get to see is the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” on ESPN.

The most disappointing event, in my opinion, that we are missing is the eighth-grade trip to Puerto Rico. For many people, it is a highlight from their time at ACDS. We spent the beginning part of the year raising money for the trip and getting excited for it, and now, we are never going to be able to go there together as a grade.

I can’t forget to mention that ACDS is already planning to make up some of the events that we are missing, which should definitely help make up for what we are missing out on. We have had chances to talk with our classmates in our advisories about plans for the end of the year events.

In addition to having graduation take place in person from our cars, ACDS is also planning a gathering when it is safe to be together again, which will be great because most of my classmates and friends are going to different schools next year.

The writer is an eighth grader at Alexandria Country Day School.

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