A First-Quarter Check In with Nanuet HS Students


Photo by Trisha Yu

You remember it: Waking up a minute before school began, logging onto your Chromebook, turning off your camera, trying to find the motivation to make it through the school day when your bed was right there. One year ago, many Nanuet High School students were learning remotely. While it may be just as difficult, even now, to leave our beds in the morning, we can all agree on one thing: It’s been good to be back.

First quarter may have been a learning experience for some of us. Especially if September was your first time back in the building in over a year, it would have been an adjustment. Students and teachers alike remember what school was like before online learning, and getting back to serious academics and more engaging classes. Taking tests on paper again, walking from class to class again, even volunteering to answer a question again may have taken some getting used to after a long break. 

Teachers and administrators have one main goal for this school year: Return to normalcy. Looking back on the first ten weeks, the consensus seems to be that so far, so good. 

“It’s a bit different coming back to school,” Junior Ali Murray said with a laugh. “I would definitely say it’s nice to be back in the building. Everything feels more normal.” 

When it comes to homecoming, the fall play, sports events, or clubs, the ability to come together with classmates again is a great feeling. 

Sophomore and Varsity Soccer player Julia Lehane said, “After the weird season last year, it was nice to be playing again. I had to get used to the feeling of juggling sports and school; I kind of forgot what it was like.” 

Students hope to keep this momentum going in the second quarter and even second semester, Murray and Lehane agreed. 

Lehane explained that she’ll focus heavily on getting more leadership roles in her clubs throughout the following quarters. 

As a junior, Murray hopes to maintain her GPA this year. 

“It’s not that my grades are bad,” Murray explained. “I just hope I can keep them up. These next few quarters are the most important.”

Like many of her peers, senior Gianna Palumbo’s main goal for quarter two is to complete her college applications.

“I’ve submitted most of them already,” she said, “but the goal is to finish them up as soon as I can.” 

The next few weeks will be crucial for the senior class in terms of applications, decisions, and experiencing a few more final rites of passage before high school is over, according to Palumbo. 

“Senioritis is real,” she joked.

As we move from a transitional period to the true middle of the year, things are getting more manageable. However, the traditional second quarter of the school year poses a new challenge: Midterms. 

Whether you’re an underclassman and have never once taken a real high school midterm exam, or an upperclassman who has forced the idea of mid-year exams out of your brain, the concept may be worrisome. Many students plan to focus harder academically this quarter in order to do well on the exams that will take place after winter break. 

Like every other sophomore and freshman at Nanuet, Lehane has never taken an in-person midterm since being in high school. She expressed some concerns but was overall confident that if she works hard this quarter it’ll pay off.

Though Palumbo is a senior, she knows her performance on these upcoming exams may be some of the last grades college admissions see before accepting or denying her application. 

“It’s been so long since we’ve had to sit down and take a midterm,” she said. “I guess the main goal for school this quarter is to make sure I’m happy with these midterm grades.”

Perhaps the second quarter is more anxiety-inducing for students than the first, as students have to worry about midterms and maintaining or improving grades from your previous report card. Or maybe a lot of us are feeling better; more confident in our abilities to be functioning in-person students once again. Either way, onwards and upwards.