2020 in Review

The infamous year of 2020 will resonate in the hearts of the Ayala community as the year of the unexpected and the unusual. Although the year had many unforeseen events, the most significant proved to be the worldwide pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movements, and a nationwide debate on who would be the best fit as our president. The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most hectic to date. 

March 13th proved to be the last day on campus for months to come. The coronavirus struck and the United States was transformed. Donning masks became a requirement and social gatherings were nonexistent. The eventual realization that the pandemic had taken root took a toll on Ayala students. 

An anonymous student said, “Learning from home allowed me to heal emotionally in the absence of harassment and drama” they experienced on campus. 

Senior Jacob Trader expressed that he “would try everything to get out of the house to the point where going to the store was a blessing.” 

 

On the other hand, senior Kayla Campbell sees this shutdown in another light. “I’ve gained confidence, created deeper bonds with my family, and developed my musical skills,” said Campbell on her social media platforms where she regularly updates her followers with her new songs and covers.

Starting a new academic year under these conditions yielded worry from the community. Many questioned whether students and teachers alike could undergo an entire year akin to the taste of at-home schooling given after that fateful March day. Teachers were to wear many hats as some had to play the part of teacher and parent simultaneously. 

With an eighth grader and a senior of her own, Spanish teacher Sandra Alves describes that her “biggest challenge has been keeping [her] children motivated and encouraging them to be resourceful to search online when they are not sure how to do something if [she’s] busy teaching a class or tutoring a student while they have questions.” 

Her experience has been a benefit as well. “I understand how easy it is for students to become distracted at home because I see it first-hand with my own children and have had to redirect them at times to make sure they are giving their full attention to their live classes,” said Alves. 

Media had an extreme influence over the past year. Whether in a beneficial or harmful way, the invisible hand of the media held Ayala in its grasp. 

Some parts of the media, such as comfort shows or movies, were depended on by students of every age in order to help them cope with the pandemic and current events.

 

For junior Adam Mirza, “the biggest impact would be music.” Music was used by many as a form of escapism and as a way to grow. “There’s been a progression of new music over the past ten months, and I believe that this area of pop culture has certainly given kids my age a chance of discovering new things and new worlds to explore,” even while stuck at home.

The media also exposed students to extremely significant events. On May 25th in Minneapolis, George Floyd was killed after being pinned to the ground with a police officer’s knee on his neck for over nine and a half minutes. This sparked an outcry with protests across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Others believed that these protests were unfair and countered that all lives mattered. Ayala students were as invested as the rest of the country. 

A freshman who wishes to stay anonymous has said that “these ‘peaceful protests’ have caused a great amount of damage towards businesses and homes. Just because these protestors, or rioters, are against the police, they think it’s okay to go against the law and demolish our country’s freedom.” 

Contrarily, senior Zara Okeiyi “never foresaw [the movement] becoming something that’s widely accepted across the world. It really says something that black people had to die at the hands of the police during a pandemic to get this much notoriety; it seems that less people were comfortable turning a blind eye to police brutality.” Blind eye or not, this movement sparked a conversation in almost every Ayala household about our society and ideals.

The pinnacle of the year was when the country had their 59th presidential election between Democrat Joseph Biden and incumbent Republican Donald Trump. Although a great majority of the student body is unable to vote, our bulldogs have an opinion on the matter. 

One senior who was able to vote this year stated why they voted for the incumbent. “Under his presidency, taxes were slashed, millions of jobs were created in every field, employment was the highest it’s ever been, black unemployment has been the lowest it’s ever been, our national relationship with countries such as North Korea and Russia have flourished, and our border security has been strengthened.” 

Vinnie Bachofner, a sophomore, expressed a contrary opinion by explaining, “I do not support Trump, although I respect everyone’s decision I don’t think he was good for our country. I am Mexican and it’s unfortunate that my president acts the way he does towards us, as he is supposed to be a leader.” 

By the end of 2020, Joe Biden became the president-elect with Kamala Harris as his vice president. 

Ayala students, parents, and faculty alike were thankful for 2020 to finally come to an end. So far 2021 has been no different. In three weeks, those who supported Trump stormed the Capitol, the House impeached president Trump yet again, and Joe Biden was elected as the forty-sixth President of the United States. COVID vaccines are beginning to be distributed nationwide, though not without speculation. Additionally, CIF announced that fall sports finals have been cancelled leaving the fate of later sports in question. One would not be out of line to assume that this year will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. 

Among the storm, there is a silver lining for those who choose to look for it. Hopefully, this past year has served as a life lesson for the Ayala community not to take life for granted. Though every student has different views on the events from the past months, the reality is that we are all a community working toward a better future for generations to come. 

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