The sunny days in a year of stormy nights


Photo by Holly McDonald

Holly McDonald, Feature Editor

The clock keeps ticking but time stands still. The streets are barren, not a single car on the road. Closed signs fill the windows of local shops. Once packed restaurants are now empty. But worst of all, there are no people to be found. It feels like a ghost town.

This was the year 2020.

If this situation was described a year ago, it would have never been believed that something so drastic would change in such a short period of time. 

So here it is, the end of 2020. Although a new year and a fresh start are highly anticipated, we can’t forget to reflect upon the events of this year. Although tragedy and hurt filled the nation, the year 2020 has a tremendous amount of positivity that deserves to be remembered. 

This year was filled with happy memories, new hobbies, strengthened relationships, and new outlooks on life.

My happiest moment was probably watching the sunrise with my closest friends atop a parking garage, listening to music, and that was back in July,” Senior Dana William said.

This year presented itself with new beginnings and special memories coming out of quarantine. 

“I have two happiest moments of this year,” English teacher Mrs. Jennifer Schrems said. “The first was when I got to see my son Brady play his first baseball game after quarantine and the second was the first day of school this year. I loved meeting all of my new students and look forward to seeing them every day.”

Many birthdays were spent over quarantine this year. And although they may have been unconventional, they were often unforgettable. 

 “My happiest moment this year was back in March on my birthday,” sophomore Kayla Mow said. “Since my birthday falls over spring break every year, I was really excited to spend it in school this year, so when school was canceled I was really bummed. When almost the whole day had passed and I was yet to see any of my friends, I couldn’t help but get a little frustrated that none of them even bothered to drive by and leave a card or anything. After dinner my family dragged me outside to “play a game of PIG” and I was surprised with a parade of all of my closest family and friends driving by. It was really exciting and made me feel really loved.”

Junior Rebecca Salmonson was able to find the time to pick up an old hobby, along with new hobbies to fill her time spent in quarantine this year.

“I actually picked up a hobby again that I had stopped for a time, which is creative writing,” Salmonson said. “I know a lot of people get out their emotions through creative means and for me, it’s understanding how I feel by writing it down, whether in the form of lyrics, poems, or stories. I’ve continued some hobbies such as running and practicing my oboe. I’m also trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe if that counts as a hobby.”

Some new hobbies might not have stuck, but it’s all about the chance to try new things. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic, I was messing around with playing the guitar. I perfected the A chord, the C chord, the G chord, and the D chord. That’s as far as I got,” Mr. Miesch said.

However, some hobbies picked up over quarantine may last for years.

“I started to read more for time pass and now I can’t stop,” William said. “It helps me to escape from the stressful reality.”

After months of separation, family and friendship reunions brought an abundance of joy to families near and far.

I think my happiest moment was seeing my grandmother again after months of separation due to Covid,” Salmonson said. “That was back in the beginning of June.”

This year has brought so much to be thankful for. Ranging from health to friendships, 2020 has truly been a year of gratitude.

“I’m thankful for my safety and my loved ones during these harsh times,” William said. “I fortunately didn’t lose anyone important to me like others did and I am so grateful for that. It makes me appreciate them even more.”

Salmonson is very thankful for the new ideas and innovations this year has brought to keep opportunities from becoming limited, as well as spreading joy.  

“I am thankful for the creativity that has resulted from the trials of Corona,” Salmonson said. “Theaters have broadcasted their old productions online, restaurants have started serving more people outside, and schools have gone above and beyond to make sure that their students still have opportunities to collaborate, create, and grow.”

Schools this year had to adapt to big changes. Even though this brought struggles to students and staff, the relationships between the two have only gotten stronger.

I have always known Mr. Deluca and the admin team to be great, but because of this pandemic, I have seen them ‘up their level of greatness’ and for that, I am so thankful,” Mrs. Schrems said.

Rather than reflecting upon this year as a year of challenges, Mow views 2020 as a year filled with adversity. 

“I will remember this year as a year of overcoming challenges,” Mow said. “2020 definitely brought many challenges, and this remote learning environment has been one of the biggest for me. Finding the motivation to do school work has been almost impossible some days, but I have accepted that this is not changing and that I will have to learn to make it work for myself. I have tried many different things to help make this remote learning a better situation and am still working on adapting fully.”

There’s a variety of lessons learned from this difficult year, but facing these challenges allows strength and character to be built.

“This year showed me how you don’t need to be face to face to maintain good relationships,” William said. “I barely saw my best friends this year than I usually would but got even closer to them. I also got closer with my sister and the rest of my family.”

Mrs. Schrems is able to view the year for how people have grown and changed, bringing her happiness this year.

“[It was] a hard time for so many people in so many ways, but also a time many people were able to become stronger, closer to their families, and more giving and empathetic,” Mrs. Schrems said.

As more people became more lighthearted, gratitude was able to spread throughout communities to show love even in the toughest of times.

“I believe I will look back on 2020 as a year of ‘brotherly love’,” Salmonson said. “I know a lot of terrible things have happened this year, and I don’t mean to disregard all the suffering, but a lot of good has happened too. I feel that more people are going the extra mile to help their neighbor, care for those who are hurting even more than they are, and encourage those around them to keep the faith that things will get better.”

2020 has brought the value of friendships to an all time high, allowing people to be more thankful for their company more than ever.  

Not being able to be around people has made me miss people and has shown me that life is to be lived with others,” Mr. Miesch said. “I really miss being able to laugh and hang out with my friends and family on a regular basis.”

Relationships were strengthened as the lack of interpersonal communication decreased, along with meeting some new acquaintances that may have never been met if circumstances were different.

I am thankful for the relationships that this year has brought,” Mow said. “Not only has this year helped me to grow closer to my friends and family, but I was lucky to be able to grow closer to my neighbors. With everything shut down, me and my family never really left the house so we were excited to find out that we have really great neighbors. If we didn’t slow down this summer and if we were to treat it how we normally do, we would’ve never had these awesome relationships that we have now.” 

But most importantly, this year has brought a change in life-attitude. Special moments will no longer be wasted as we have learned how desperate we are without them.  

I think it just reaffirmed what I have always known- life is short and fragile,” Mrs. Schrems said. “Never take anyone or anything for granted. Find happiness in each day.”