By Camila De La Cruz
There is no doubt that 2020 is a year for the history books. With so many challenges, including an entire pandemic, the world was battling the troubles and challenges that came with 2020. But how did our small school community handle such a year?
The year started with one of our nation’s biggest challenges. As our bushfire season continued from 2019, Australia was faced with the worst fire season in living memory. Seeing our country in such a devastating situation was hard for our community. But for many Loreto girls, the 2019-2020 bushfire season was more of a personal one. For some of us, there were relatives, neighbours’ friends and other people we knew that worked as firefighters. Some had to evacuate their homes for safety. However, those that were in these ways, they still had a great support group from their friends at school, even if the school was hundreds of kilometres away. Even during summer holidays, Loreto girls stayed strong.
With all that, our school year began on Wednesday the 29th of January, after long 55 days of summer break (or nearly 8 weeks). We headed off to class this year with all year 5-12 starting on the same day, a first. January and February were mostly normal for school. Although there was much talk about the then-new Covid crisis, it didn’t really affect how the school operated. For the majority of Term 1, classes went on as normal. However, that started to flip around in March.
It was in March when online schooling began. On March 18th, the boarding school was closed, and all boarders started virtual learning, followed by day students on March 19th. With that came many changes to our day-to-day lives. Every day, students would log into Zoom to attend class, complete work before taking a ten-minute break before the next class. Even though the best efforts were made for classes to run smoothly, it didn’t always happen. Many times, microphones and cameras would stop working. Sometimes the internet would stop working in households altogether. During normal circumstances and in a normal physical school this would generally not be much of a problem, but in a world were the only way to connect is through the internet made it much harder. Even when things like that happen, fellow classmates and teachers would do their best to help their peers catch up on any material.
It was also due to the pandemic that many events had to be cancelled. Music Festival being the first. Music Festival wasn’t entirely cancelled, however, as it was announced that Music Festival would become an online event with the recordings of every student in each house smashed together into one in a “couch choir”, something that has definitely has not been done before. Also being a first, the winner of this year’s Music Festival was voted by students and staff and not decided by selected judges. Many camps and excursions were cancelled as well, including the much anticipated Far North Queensland experience for Year 9 that had to be cancelled due to border closures. That as well wasn’t entirely cancelled with the introduction of Songlines this year where students and staff were able to learn much about our land as well as taking on new challenges on the way.
Online schooling continued all the way until May, when finally, on May 12 and 18th, the school started re-introducing their students to what would be known as the new “normal”. With social distancing, moved desks, Zoom assemblies
Even through the insane year that 2020 was, our Loreto community remained strong. The entire world was facing adversity. But for us Loreto students? Yes, we were challenged a lot, but our resilience helps us get through this year.
Just be grateful that this year is almost over.