Students return to LHS for first day of school

After a year of alternative learning models and a school-wide construction project, a full student body returned to the school for the first day of the 2021-22 school year


Maebelle Hamlin

Orchestra teacher Mariah Barnett shows students around the new school building during the first day of school Aug 19.

By Cuyler Dunn, Co-Editor in Chief of The Budget

Lawrence High school returned to session Aug. 19, featuring bright yellow Link Crew shirts, confused freshman, computer help and teachers smiling behind masks.

The first day of the school year was a much different sight than last year, when students and teachers began the year fully online. This year, while still fully masked, all students and staff were back in person for the first day of learning.

Alongside the return to a more normal first day, it was the first time for many to enter the newly-renovated school building, featuring a brand new mural painted on the school courtyard.

The day was not only filled with learning and observing the new school, but also rebuilding connections with students and teachers.

“I think it went pretty well,” junior Ayo Obadare said. “It’s weird seeing everyone’s faces again, but it’s definitely nice to see people and say hi to my teachers in person. It’s good reconnecting with people. I’ve been able to reconnect with people who I haven’t seen in a while.”

Upperclassmen were excited to see a full student body back at LHS after a year and a half of alternate learning models.

“I came in person during second semester of last year, but now that everyone is here, it feels more like the way LHS was before COVID,” senior Elizabeth Wellman said.

Wellman, a member of the LHS Link Crew, found herself helping freshmen throughout the day.

“I felt like all the freshmen are adjusting well to LHS,” she said. “Lots ask questions when they’re confused, and I’m glad that they feel comfortable in this space.”

Freshmen weren’t the only students asking for help from Link Crew leaders. Due to recent summer construction and lots of learning being done remotely last school year, lots of students in all grades found themselves confused trying to navigate the new school building.

For teachers, there was lots of joy in getting to see and meet students, instead of having them behind a screen.

“I love learning about my students as people and what they are interested in outside of class and that’s been very hard to do with virtual/hybrid learning,” math teacher Matthew Ellis said. “I think our student/teacher relationships will be better/deeper this year.”

With packed classrooms, some felt anxious about staying safe as the delta variant continues to spread.

“I love getting to know students and see everyone, but with the delta variant on the rise, I’m leery of let down our guards too much,” Ellis said. “With 30 people in my room at once, there is no way to distance safely. I just hope we don’t have clusters of cases and have to close down again.”

Even though the day featured challenges, students were positive about the small return to normalcy.

“It’s been very refreshing,” senior Connor Mullen said. “I’ve been excited to see all of my friends all summer, and I’m overall exhilarated being back.”