Solidarity for sophomores

Daniel Ju

The email showed up in our inboxes. A message from President Rick Commons. But before I could even open it, screams of jubilation and laughter erupted all around silent study. Immediately, I knew what that email was about. Walking down the stairs of the library, I noticed crowd after crowd, kids running out of classrooms and telling their friends “school’s over!” Just like everyone else, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile at that momentous news.

And here we are, almost two months after that fateful day. We’ve all grown accustomed to the silence of our homes, the harsh blue light of our computer screens and the monotony of yet another day stuck at home. We’ve left behind our wonderful campus, our sports practices, our fights and hilarity with our friends. We’ve left behind meetings with our teachers, jammed lockers, the physical presence of our community. It’s hard to even fathom the idea of that “we,” the “we” who gathered at assemblies, the “we” who snuck up on one another during Tap Out, the “we” who collectively found first period sign-ins annoying. And as a sophomore at the Upper School just beginning to get a taste of those little, big moments, I can say we’ve missed out on the start of a traditional high school experience. And yet, Harvard-Westlake comes together. Publications still have layout sessions, clubs still elect students to leadership roles and teachers still open up their offices online. The spirit of pursuing excellence still burns strong, and that’s something an active shooter, a pandemic or any other crisis can never quench.

In such a difficult situation, it’s important that everyone holds dear the value of optimism as the world drags its feet into a seemingly endless pit of negativity, of slander, of fear-mongering. It’s during these kinds of days that the value of a helping hand shines brightly. 

Optimism drives us to help each other up. Optimism is the enabler of hope. And hope is what inspires solutions. With such a profound message in mind, the idea of tomorrow becomes tantalizing. 

By realizing what we’ve lost, but also recognizing the strength of our community, it’s my sincerest hope that faculty, students and staff let our conscience be not only our guide, but also the vision of an even better school year.

Click here to to read junior Ella Moriarty’s perspective on how her year has been affected by COVID-19.