Lenape is in Full Swing!


Active halls, energized students, and full classrooms: just how Lenape likes it. After over a year of hybrid learning, it’s satisfying to finally see Lenape back in full gear and filled with its complete array of students and staff.

For some upperclassmen, Thursday, September 9, was their first-day stepping foot into Lenape since March 13, 2020. For sophomores who were virtual their freshman year, this was their first day ever walking onto Lenape grounds, similar to the current 9th graders, who have just begun their high school experience. 

Like most people, I had a bundle of emotions walking into Lenape on that rainy morning. I was excited with anticipation of seeing my classmates, some for the first time in over a year. I was anxious to see how Lenape looked completely filled with students, and I was eager to meet my new teachers.

Last year, I was a freshman who participated in Lenape’s hybrid program, and then switched to in-person when it was offered. Thus, I was already pretty familiar with Lenape’s layout and didn’t have any trouble finding my classes. I remember the year before when it took me a full two weeks to navigate the halls of Lenape without getting lost. Luckily, Justin Hermack, a freshman, had an easier time adjusting than I did and didn’t have much difficulty in finding his classes.

Last year, Justin was an in-person eighth-grade student at Harrington Middle School. While Justin doesn’t see any downsides in his transition to high school, he does note a few differences in the way Lenape is run compared to Harrington, the biggest one being the structure and freedom. He says that while the workload of Harrington is the same as Lenape, Harrington’s teachers were constantly micromanaging students on how to complete assignments; the expectations are the same as they were in middle school, but now it’s up to students to get the work done.

Along with swim season, Justin is looking forward to Pride Day, which he’s heard good things about. As Pride Day is just a few days away, he will soon be able to judge that for himself. Additionally, he is looking forward to the point where he is no longer forced to read poems in English class. Well, I hate to break it to you Justin, but the poems follow you throughout high school. 

It has been a few months since school started, and Justin feels the difference. He says that he is accomplishing things in class and that the “gears are spinning now.” But, compared to the first days of school, he feels a lot more stressed now because “it’s hard to keep the work from piling up on you.” Thankfully, along with the cons are pros: he’s glad that the period of “awkward” icebreakers is now over.

Like Justin, May Sukkarieh, a junior, also feels the change from the first day of school. Originally, she was very excited to start her junior year, but now she feels “just tired. Every day.” She feels that the biggest issue from half to full days was getting used to 57-minute classes again. She could also do without labs, which she has two of and feels are very energy draining. The lab issue might be a solvable one… rumor has it that Lenape is getting rid of labs during lunch, although nothing is set in stone.

Being a junior, May was able to experience a pre-pandemic Lenape for a portion of her freshman year. For the curious underclassmen, like me, she notes that a few of the changes made are the mask policy, the inability to leave lunch locations whenever, the closed bathrooms, and the timing of homecoming.

Last year, May experienced both virtual and in-person learning. With that being said, May prefers in-person learning because it gives her a “sense of normalcy and family”. 

A 10th grader, who would like to remain anonymous, experienced both in-person and virtual learning and also prefers being in-person, similar to May. This student appreciates being able to see friends and build connections with teachers and classmates. She also feels that virtual learning poses challenges that learning in-person solves: in-person learning makes it easier to communicate with teachers and ask for help. Although she enjoys the in-person experience, she misses not having to wake up as early as she does now and misses when being virtual allowed her more time for work. When asked to choose between in-person and virtual learning, she responded that she likes being in-person, but misses when being virtual was an option. 

While the happiness to be fully back in school still lingers, I can agree that sometimes the workload and resulting stress puts a damper on my mood. I didn’t realize how different last year was from normal. I walked in on the first day with expectations similar to my freshman year, but as the weeks went on, I felt like I constantly had a never-ending stack of assignments and tests, not to mention the lack of sleep. Thankfully, I can now see past the stack of assignments. While it was challenging and took a few weeks to re-adjust and gain my footing again, I wouldn’t change anything or choose for this year to be like last year. I believe that seeing my friends and teachers every day, as well as school events like spirit week, football games, and homecoming, is worth the change in pace. 

While times can get tough, I think the important thing is to look for the good. For every challenge you are faced with, think of a way to overcome it instead of letting it get you down. For every disappointment in your life, think of three things you are thankful for. In this case, the school year is a lot more demanding and stressful than I anticipated, but I’m thankful I get to see my friends and teachers every day. In a few days I’ll get to experience my first Pride Day, and my English class reading list does not include Shakespeare.