April 8, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
'I think we all will go through the rest of our lives with a heightened appreciation for life.' -- HHS Senior Class President Cameron Frank
Hingham High School Class of 2021 President Cameron Frank shared her reflections with the Hingham Anchor about the very-different past school year while also looking on the bright side.
"The worst part for me, and I think for most of my classmates, has been the lack of human interaction and collaboration [because of the pandemic]," she said. "It's almost impossible to forge a strong relationship with your teacher through a computer screen. As a result, I think motivation and focus were hard to maintain throughout the year for a lot of people."
Remote learning didn't just take a toll on kids' grades, but it also took a heavy toll on mental health, Cameron observed. In a normal year at HHS, every student is busy with clubs, sports, school, and other activities.
"During the previous school year, I didn't get home until 5 p.m. on most nights and occasionally I got home even later than that because my day was so jam-packed with activities, and I think most kids can relate to that," she continued. "It was a very radical transition to then spend almost all of our time at home, alone, unable to participate in the extracurricular activities that we love."
While recognizing that some people have experienced tremendous losses during the past year and not wanting to sound "trivial," Cameron said that "losing milestone experiences in our lives such as prom, senior night, etc. is definitely sad since we will never get this time back. Most of my classmates have never been to a prom."
Cameron finds having all grades at the high school back at school five days a week to be "really exciting. I missed so much being able to catch up with kids that aren't my immediate friends and seeing everyone in the hallways. It's also really the first time that we have been walking through the halls with the new freshman class, which is so crazy. I'm hoping that next year will be more normal so freshmen can have a more authentic experience at HHS, because they have no idea how much fun it can be!"
Despite all the uncertainty, conflict, and loss, Cameron reflects, "There have 100 percent been some positives that we can take away from this year. For starters, I think we all will go through the rest of our lives with a heightened appreciation for life. I will never take for granted a single moment that I can spend with my family and friends. I think it has also been a year of self-reflection during which we were able to learn a lot about ourselves," she said.
During lockdown and quarantine, having nothing to do "really forced us to take a moment to breathe and reflect. Many of my classmates have had to overcome immense loss, grief, and adversity as a result of the pandemic. They know that they are mentally stronger coming out of this year than they were going into it, and that's definitely something to be proud of."
During these challenging times, Cameron developed a closer relationship with her two brothers. Prior to the pandemic, their schedules never lined up because they were all so busy, "but while quarantining, we were able to spend a lot of quality time together that I will never forget."