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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The benefits of coming to campus for class

Coming to campus means I get to see friends and teachers; it means I create memories I would never create if I stayed home and only attended virtually.
By Mak Krivka—

As I walked down the hallway to Kohlmann Hall for my first class of the day, Journalism Writing, I said hello to every student and teacher I saw en route to class. Even behind masks, it’s nice to see everyone. Since we have all been forced into isolation for our own safety, just being able to give a fist bump to someone I haven’t seen since March is a great feeling to have.

When I walked into the K23 classroom right as the bell rang, I had been nominated to go shoot photos of Mr. Jim Kilroy for a classmate. Mrs. Teresa Jackson threw me the camera, and I barreled down the stairs, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr. Kilroy before he went back to his office. As I reached the door leading to the outside, I hoped to reach the student service gang still checking kids in for school. My classmate was writing about Mr. Kilroy and needed an in-action photo. I caught him right as he was walking away and caught a great photo.

When I arrived back to the classroom, I had again been nominated to be “photographer of the day,” so Jonathan Howell and I set out and got as many photos for our papers as needed. This day on campus wasn’t a year ago; it was only last Wednesday. The day on campus felt as if life were starting to return to normality.

But if you don’t come to campus, you would not know this. If I had been on Zoom, I would have missed out on interactions with teachers, administrators and even my classmates.

Students at Gonzaga College High School simply have not been coming into school enough. As president of the Gonzaga Student Government Association, I have an interesting view of Gonzaga, both the good and the bad. Seeing that not as many students have been coming to campus is somewhat disconcerting. The COVID-19 virus has affected so many people’s lives and in an array of different ways. Some students have decided not to come down to campus because of at-risk relatives, because of logistical problems or because they do not see the point in making the trip to Eye Street.

In my role as SGA president, the first task I completed was helping in the freshman transition classes on campus. Gonzaga had decided to have freshman students come down to campus in their cohorts to see the school, learn the law of the land and feel as if they truly belong at the school they had worked so hard to get into. I went down, along with an SGA officer and two booster club members, to meet these students and give them an unfiltered view of the school we have spent so much time at and love dearly. The students seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the school and making their way down to campus.

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, Gonzaga decided to have the first quarter completely virtual, but the second quarter and second semester have mostly been in hybrid style. At the start of the hybrid model, student attendance on campus was great! Students came to campus in droves, and it started to feel like this method would really work. We would have a few hundred students on campus on any given day and the ruckus and energy of Gonzaga started to return.

When December and exams hit, the numbers took a visible dip. Students simply did not want to come down to school while it was cold and there was difficult work to be done. The idea of doing exams and all the work that comes with it at a desk seemed too undesirable for most students. I remember vividly cheering as the 50th student was checked in on Eye Street on the last day of on-campus classes in the first semester.

As of February 2021, the number of students making their way onto campus has increased from the dismal numbers in December of 2020, but it is still not where it should be. The SGA, Office of Student Services and the administration have all been working on finding ways to get students to come down to campus, and it has definitely helped. The school has made SAGE dining free, the return of bake sales is imminent and Gonzagafest has come back for the second year.

I hope seniors will come back for their fourth quarter of senior year. This will be the last time the senior class gets to spend time with each other, and it would be a great way to send everyone off by having them all on-campus. I hope the senior class will be able to make some of these great memories I have had so far.

The smallest actions mean the most sometimes— like walking to journalism class with Jonathan Hofmann, eating lunch in Ms. Caitlin Farley’s room with a group of seniors or chilling out for a few minutes in the campus ministry office. These events might have seemed simple and mundane a year ago but, nowadays they feel all the more special.

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    Leslie KeiserMar 3, 2021 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for this good persuasive essay.