Online in an in-person year

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Sean and Sydney Kaps attend online classes from their home. While they prefer in-person classes, they are “making the best of it.” (Photo/Sydney Kaps)

The new school year saw students returning to school, allowing them to experience in-person learning after, for some, more than a year online. For senior Sean Kaps and his sister, sophomore Sydney Kaps, however, this “normal” school year has been anything but. 

Currently attending school virtually—Sean suffers from severe asthma, rendering him vulnerable to COVID-19, while Sydney has a milder form but does not want to potentially pass COVID-19 onto her brother—the Kaps siblings use Google Meet to attend classes and stay involved in school.

“It definitely feels a bit strange,” Sean said. “My teachers are always telling me ‘I need to make sure you’re learning this material too’…, but I want to make sure that asking questions does not interrupt the class.”

While the Kaps siblings were online last year as well, this year has brought new challenges. As two of the only students still online, the Kaps siblings sometimes find themselves as outsiders in class discussions or activities.

Another challenge comes in the form of social interaction. Since they are online, the Kaps siblings are isolated from classroom chatter and are unable to speak with their friends during lunch or break.

Despite these difficulties, both siblings want to emphasize how accommodating their teachers have been. 

“[My] teachers have made it so easy; they put me on an iPad and give the iPad around to the students… I’m still included,” Sydney said.

Outside of school, the Kaps siblings socialize with their friends through one of their favorite hobbies, gaming.

“Sean games with his friends, so do I. Since we can’t go out it’s really the only way we’re able to hang out with our friends,” Sydney said.

Overall, online learning, while not ideal, has been a relatively pleasant experience for the Kaps siblings.

“I certainly do miss going to school—I really miss talking to my friends in person—but due to the difficult circumstances, I have to say that American Heritage has done an excellent job making the best out of it that they could’ve,” Sean said.

As a sophomore, Ella Gohari is entering her second year on the Patriot Post staff as the co-Editor-in-Chief for the print newsmagazine. A lover of words, Ella spends much of her time writing, whether it be an article, poem, short story or science research paper. She often writes while listening (and singing her heart out) to music, and is particularly fond of rock bands like Metallica, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Her ultimate favorite; however, is Queen. Juggling many interests at once, she has been a science researcher with Mrs. Joykutty since 6th grade, and is now a part of the Sigma Xi Science Society. On the weekends, she volunteers with Village Book Builders and OTTER to teach underprivileged children in Florida and around the world. She is excited to co-lead the newsmagazine and can’t wait to see where the year goes.

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