How Did Your First Semester Go?

Left+Corner%3A+Hayden+LaRoque+Green%2C+Junior+%0ARight+Corner%3A+Elizabeth+Bigham%2C+Freshman+%0AUnder+First+Images%3A+Caroline+Apicella%2C+Sophomore

Left Corner: Hayden LaRoque Green, Junior Right Corner: Elizabeth Bigham, Freshman Under First Images: Caroline Apicella, Sophomore

Sofia Espaillat , staff writer

Believe or not, we have made it more than a month into 2022! The scorching dog days of August have long since been put behind us, and have thus been replaced by the mutual hope of students and teachers alike for a snow day. It feels like just yesterday the first day of school butterflies were churning in the stomachs of New Providence students as they walked into their high school, waving goodbye to summer and hello to the 2021-2022 academic year.

That being said, much of the uncertainty that surrounded the start of the school year has diminished. Teachers, staff, and students have all settled into a routine of things despite the COVID-19 pandemic that won’t seem to go away. As we keep pushing ahead and into the last five months of school, I spoke to a few students to check in and see how their first semester went. 

Hayden LaRocque Green, Junior 

How did managing your schoolwork go over the course of the first semester? 

“I think after being half remote last year, I got into a big habit of procrastinating with my schoolwork. And so coming into this year as a junior, where I’m taking AP classes and there’s, like, a bigger workload, I was trying to procrastinate and get all my stuff done in the beginning of the year. And then I quickly realized that that didn’t work. So over the course of this semester, I’ve been trying to get more on top of my workload and manage all my extracurriculars better. So I’m trying to stop procrastinating.”

Did you have any experiences with the COVID-19 regulations NPSD has put into place? 

“One of my family members tested positive for COVID right after Christmas, so I had to wait for a negative COVID test before I could go back to school. I was remote for a week. I didn’t think [remote learning] would be as bad as it was. In some of my classes it was fine because we weren’t really doing anything. But in Physics and APUSH, those classes were really hard for me to stay on top of being remote because […] the teachers aren’t really supposed to pay attention to you. I definitely had to catch up when I came back to school.” 

How are/have your sports and/or extracurricular activities been going? 

“[I had] a pretty good [volleyball] season. It was my first year on varsity. I was really nervous in the beginning, but my teammates were incredible. I had a really fun season. I’m also the president of fundraising for the Teens4Refugees club. That’s really fun because we just [recently] raised money, and also do activities to help refugees. We used to do these things, like, every Saturday where we would go tutor refugees at this synagogue [in Westfield]. Because of COVID that’s been, like, just completely canceled. So now we’re more focused on the fundraisers at work.”

Caroline Apicella, Sophomore 

How did managing your schoolwork go over the course of the first semester? 

“Some days were tough, and other days it was manageable. I would take brain breaks and detach from my schoolwork, just try not to overload myself or do too much at one time whenever I got stressed. With midterms coming up, I’m feeling pretty stressed about it because I am the type of person to overwhelm myself with a lot of work. But I’ve just been really trying to manage my time well and not stress myself out too much, and also use the study habits that I used for last year’s midterms [when I was at Union Catholic].” 

Did you have any experience with the COVID-19 regulations NPSD has put into place? 

“No, but I actually had surgery [for an ACL injury] which made me miss about a week. [My teachers] were pretty helpful for the most part during that time. I was excused from a bunch of assignments, and it was great that I got to do my work at my own pace.” 

How are/have your sports and/or extracurricular activities been going? 

“Well I’m currently involved with softball, but not right now because of my ACL injury. So I might be sidelined for the upcoming spring season, but I’m really looking forward to the spring season and being back with the girls who were all on my old travel team.” 

Elizabeth Bigham, Freshman 

How did managing your schoolwork go over the course of the first semester? 

“Well, it varied from day to day. I like to make a schedule for myself after school, and I just made sure to stick to it and do my work right when I got home. […] Listening to and performing music has always been an outlet for me to relieve my stress, so it’s been something I’ve used a lot this year to destress.”

Did you have any experiences with the COVID-19 regulations NPSD has put into place? 

“I have never been quarantined, which I found surprising since I went to Texas recently. But kind of…yeah, they do stress me out a bit. I had a cold earlier in the year, and since I had most of the COVID symptoms, I had to miss three days of school. So having to miss all of that work and instruction was really annoying.” 

How are/have your sports and/or extracurricular activities been going? 

“I am in the STEM club, so I am currently working on an essay for the TEAMS competition.  The final draft is due February 10th, so I am pretty excited to see how far [my team] can make it. It’s been really fun working together so far. I am also playing the part of General Genghis Kahn Schmitz in the spring play, which is Seuissical the Musical. I have rehearsal during the week, just about every day after school. […] It’s been a great experience so far because I know a lot of people participating in it as well, so it’s been fun working together.” 

Overall, it seems like students here at the high school have settled in nicely and are succeeding in both their academics and extracurricular activities. While students at all grade levels can relate to the stress that stems from schoolwork, it is encouraging to see that they are still finding ways to get involved and be a part of their school community!