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Baltimore Students and Their Response to COVID-19– Kyia Williamson, Ben Franklin High School

In early May, the Fund asked a group of City Schools students to share their experience of remote learning during this time of school closures due to the COVID-19 crisis. For context, their responses were drafted in mid-May, prior to the mass demonstrations across the country. In our first blog post of this series, Kyia Williamson, a student at Ben Franklin High School, shares what she misses about classroom learning and provides advice for how adults can support students during this time:

I am glad to be a part of the student blog series to talk about how school is going for me as a junior in quarantine. Since schools have closed, I’ve had my days when I wanted to go back because at school it’s easier for me to stay on task and not have so much free time. I feel this especially with some classes having the no phone rule which affects your grade. There are a few things I miss about being in school like playing games like Kahoot in math class and being competitive because I wanted to win (haha). I miss just how silly my classmates are, they leave me with endless laughs, I also miss seeing my teachers, giving them hugs, and just making them smile with my joyful spirit. But the main thing I miss is running track. I was really looking forward to the outdoor season as well and doing my best to catch enough attention to where I could be offered a scholarship. The difference between school and at-home learning is that for one you’re at home, meaning you are now in a place where you’re comfortable and can tend to get sidetracked really easily by TV or sleeping for endless hours. It’s harder to have motivation. In school, we can rarely put our heads down, so it just pushes us to get back on track with our classwork.

I would like for the adults to know that for us teenagers we have a right to be stressed and have a lot on our plate. That despite us not doing a lot of the things you do, we all go through things that get a bit hard to handle and we need your support instead of comparing us to you. There are problems both in and out of school whether it’s from having a big pile of work to do which can become overwhelming, being upset with yourself because you’re not getting as much as you want to get done, or dealing with bullying, there are tons of things us teenagers go through. Our parents can help by pushing us to do our work and being on us about it. Yes, I know it sounds a bit too much but, honestly, it works because now we’re in that mindset where we just want to get it done so that parents will stop bugging us about it. Or say if we decide to take a day or two from schoolwork because we’ve been working really hard lately on catching up in our classes or just in general life. A simple, “I’m proud of you” can really go a long way for us and means a lot since we’re doing the best we can to be successful. Knowing that you see our progress really shows that you’re paying attention.

What has gone well for me is that I am now spending more time on myself and have learned many new things to expand my mindset. I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned with others to help them better themselves as well and being a good sport! I’ve been very productive and now I’m content with where I am not letting the virus get to me as much as it does for others. Instead of complaining about the virus that ruined so many things for you, take time to work on yourself, do some home workouts, spend time with family, find a new hobby. There’s so much you can do and learn at home showing us that we’re capable of being successful even with this virus going. The only struggle I’ve really had is being committed to schoolwork. The virus has helped me to be committed to myself.

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