Like the entire nation’s highschool graduates, the Chicago Public Faculties class of 2022 has spent greater than half of their highschool expertise navigating the pandemic. However along with the challenges of distant studying, households impacted by COVID-19, and interruptions to their social lives, CPS college students additionally needed to take care of competition between the Chicago Lecturers Union and CPS administration, together with two strikes.
“Highschool itself, we all know isn’t straightforward,” stated Lane Tech Excessive College graduate Isabela Ávila Ríos. “After which add on multiple strike and COVID and all that, it made it seem to be it was by no means going to finish at one level. But right here I’m two days post-graduation, realizing prefer it’s throughout. It’s all behind me now.”
For CPS class of 2022 graduates Isabela Ávila Ríos, Diego Garcia, Yazmine Puma, and Andre Pedroza, highschool was greater than a cease on the way in which to maturity. It’s the place they discovered help and group.
“There are academics right here who actually care concerning the college students and I’m simply grateful to have been within the classroom with these academics and have had experiences with some academics that … very clearly cared about me and cared concerning the group,” stated Diego Garcia. “I mirror on that quite a bit.”
It’s the place they found new pursuits and abilities.
“You could have a number of several types of retailers in which you’ll be able to present your inventive expression and that’s the place I really feel like CPS truly does job,” stated Schurz Excessive College graduate Andre Pedroza. “I wouldn’t know as a lot about music as I do now if not for that.”
It’s the place they realized extra about who they’re and who they need to be.
“After I got here into Schurz I needed to main in enterprise as a result of that’s what I believed me, however then I form of struggled on what I needed to main in as a result of nothing actually caught my consideration. Like I’m extra of a fingers on pondering sort of particular person,” stated Schurz Excessive College graduate Yazmine Puma.
“CPS in itself allowed me to begin off my activism work that led me to then create the Coalition of Advocates for Undocumented College students’ Schooling and for it to take off,” stated Ávila Ríos.
Trying again, the graduates say each side of their college lives was touched by the pandemic.
“The final couple of years, it was a bit tough with the pandemic and on-line college, it wasn’t the perfect,” stated Garcia. “Some concepts don’t translate properly via computer systems, and typically I had bother with the web connection.”
Garcia stated there have been modifications to his well-being.
“After the shutdown, I felt rather less social. I felt like I turned a bit extra introverted. In order that’s one thing I’m nonetheless working via and attempting to get previous,” he stated.
Pedroza additionally had issue with distant studying, he stated.
“I might say that COVID legitimately diminished my work ethic. Generally there have been days the place I wouldn’t need to do assignments as a result of I wouldn’t have motivation to do them,” Pedroza stated. “That’s when administration right here launched one thing, I name it the 50% rule. And primarily that’s when academics weren’t allowed to fail the scholars’ assignments. I really feel like that fifty% rule actually like impacts college students like on this college, particularly with their work ethic.”
The interruptions additionally led to disappointment for student-athletes like Yazmine Puma.
“I’ve been enjoying sports activities since freshman 12 months. My mother caught COVID in direction of the tip of my volleyball season. So on account of that my volleyball season was lower brief. I used to be actually unhappy about that,” she stated. “I needed to check out soccer for my junior 12 months however that wasn’t in a position to occur as a result of my dad had COVID after which I needed to quarantine principally your complete month.”
And even retuning to in-person college had some highway bumps, stated Ávila Ríos.
“Digital studying was arduous in itself, however the transition again, since our colleges weren’t ready for that both, made issues a lot more durable with academics having to alter the way in which they grade or settle for work,” she stated.
However now with their time in CPS at an finish, all of them report feeling prepared and looking forward to the challenges that lie forward.
Yazmine Puma is heading to Illinois State College within the fall to check prison justice.
“I’m truly very excited. I had to consider it quite a bit as a result of I’m shifting away, I’m going to be dwelling on campus, however I see it as a approach of experiencing one thing new and as a approach of like making myself extra unbiased,” Puma stated.
Andre Pedroza is attending Harold Washington Faculty to check pc science.
“I envision having a profession with pc science, possibly with programming, particularly one thing with video video games, as a result of that’s one thing I’m keen on as properly,” stated Pedroza.
After a summer time working with the Nationwide Fairness Venture, Isabela Ávila Ríos will likely be matriculating on the College of Chicago to main in political science.
“I feel going to CPS actually opened up my view of town,” Ávila Ríos stated. “I do know a lot extra simply from assembly individuals from in every single place.”
And Diego Garcia will likely be going to UIC, the place he was accepted into the pre-health pre-science program and plans a profession within the medical discipline. Garcia’s highschool was one of many recipients of full scholarships from the nonprofit group Hope Chicago, an occasion Garcia referred to as a “once-in-a-lifetime alternative.”
“I’m going to have to determine extra issues alone and that’s simply my fundamental concern, ensuring I’ve all the pieces that must be accomplished, accomplished,” Garcia stated. “I’m unbelievably excited.”