2019 Elle Arvesen mug

Arvesen

One month of summer vacation is now almost over, and the dread and anticipation of the upcoming school year are slowly closing in on teenagers in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Luckily, COVID-19 vaccines have now been fully administered to around 47% of the population of the United States.

You are no longer required to wear masks in California, and it is common to see crowds of maskless people in Solvang and Los Olivos. This is exciting news, but I can’t help but wonder how long this will continue. Will we have to go into lockdown once more because of the different variations of COVID-19 that have come into existence?

My wish is that next school year we will be able to go back to in-person learning. Wearing masks is a small price to pay to escape the Groundhog Day that is attending Zoom meetings day after day to get an education. I have seen the toll this past year has taken on my friends and classmates, and I know none of us want to go back to how it was the first semester of distance learning.

Due to COVID-19, students missed a lot of fun events and opportunities that we usually get to take part in.

One event that I am excited to once again attend is homecoming. I remember homecoming as one of my favorite events during my freshman year of high school. I made so many great memories, and it truly set the tone for the rest of the year. I continued to make great memories with my new friends, that is, until COVID shut it all down.

I'm also looking forward to once again attending the home football games and getting to cheer my team on with my friends. Those games also helped to form connections and friendships that stayed with me to this day. Other sporting events and activities that our Associated Student Body organized also helped to make my freshman year memorable; and I am very excited to see what is planned for this year.

My parents were the first people to introduce to me the power of the written word, and for that, I am forever grateful. They gave me something worth its weight in gold.

To sum up everything, I am truly holding out hope that we can enter into this new school year confident that we will not have to once again resort to Zoom and seemingly endless days staring at a computer screen. I expect that teachers also are ready to go back to teaching in person.

If we are going to return to normal day-to-day life, our community needs to work together to avoid hitting rock bottom once again. Even though after you hit rock bottom, the only place you can go is up, I hope that we are on our way up instead of slowly falling back down. If everyone stays patient with each other, both vaccinated people and people who choose to remain unvaccinated, I am sure that we all will be able to pull through this.

When I think of a “spark,” I think of passion. I think of doing something I love so much that it creates a warmth in my entire body, and makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning and get right to it.

After doing some research of my own over the past year, and talking to highschoolers who are taking the same steps I am to find their future career path, I have some tips from my own experience to share with anyone who may be interested.

My parents were the first people to introduce to me the power of the written word, and for that, I am forever grateful. They gave me something worth its weight in gold.

Elle Arvesen is the elected Lucky Clover 4-H Club reporter, a local high schooler, and SYV News Teen Life columnist.

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