The Romans are Ready to Rumble

After over two long school years during the COVID pandemic and less than 12 short weeks of summer, Upper School students returned to school on August 29 to something they hadn’t experienced in a long time: normalcy. Instead of masks, most students wore smiles, which revealed just how great it felt to be back in school, especially in what some high schoolers might remember as a “normal” Latin environment.
Upper School English Teacher and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Curriculum Coordinator Brandon Woods said, “I felt a tangible sense of excitement amongst the students.” He continued, “[The first day] felt as if students were really happy to see one another.”
Many students echoed this sentiment. Freshman Darina Koedjikova said the first week of school exceeded her expectations. “I really enjoyed meeting new people and participating in new classes,” she said. In regards to her physics class, she said, “Not only is it interesting, but I also think my teacher presents it really well.”
Freshman Nathan Axelrod also found enjoyment in physics this week. “I enjoy physics because I have always liked learning science and I love experimenting even more,” he said. “The class is very fun and I feel like I don’t need to wait for it to finish.”
For new Romans, managing class schedules and balancing workloads with extracurriculars can be quite a challenge. Freshman Nathan, “The first day of school was a little confusing trying to navigate the rooms and figuring [out] what works best when it comes to scheduling. Otherwise, the day went by quickly and [without] many other hiccups.”
However, that’s not to say that even upperclassmen don’t struggle with this balancing act. The first semester of senior year is notoriously stressful amid challenging classes, extracurriculars, and the busyness of college applications.
“It is a bit to juggle everything, and it is daunting,” senior Maya Mahoney said. “I am trying to do my best to balance my to-do list while enjoying the learning experience I get from my classes, counselors, and extracurricular activities.”
Senior Ayanna McCarthy’s thoughts on her start of senior year are similar to Maya’s. “Balancing college concerns with school has been a challenge, to say the least,” she said. “[I am] juggling routines to knock one thing out at a time while constantly looking at deadlines.”
Simply put, the seniors are as stressed as ever. So, taking time to enjoy their last year of high school is important.
One way the seniors blew off steam during the first week was at their grade-level retreat at an outdoor adventure venue, The Forge at Lemont Quarries. “It was amazing,” Ayanna said. “I found out I’m awful at axe throwing. … All and all, it was nice to see all the seniors gathered to enjoy themselves.”

Despite the usual anxiousness and stressful feelings that loom over Upper School students, it is safe to say that being together as Romans once more felt refreshing.
“My hope is that we can come together and find even more joy in the community,” Mr. Woods said. “In addition to the athletic, social, and academic triumphs, I want us to have fun together.”