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Leaned on faith to get through isolation

(Source: Clarion Herald, June 7, 2020)

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Soaring above a global crisis

The world changed in March – and one group uniquely affected was the high school graduating Class of 2020. In a moment’s notice, it seemed, Catholic high schools closed their physical campuses as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, sending thousands of students home to begin online classes.

For the seniors of the 22 Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the final two months of their high school lives were turned upside down. But the amazing thing is how God worked quietly through this crisis. Over the next several pages, see how the Quarantine Class of 2020 used the support of their parents, teachers and faith to shine despite difficult circumstances. The Clarion Herald asked seniors to reflect on how they used their time of quarantine and handled the challenges of a global pandemic during one of the milestone moments of their lives. 

Get ready to be inspired!
Shannon Plough, Academy of the Sacred Heart

In the beginning, distance learning was very difficult. Waking up every morning to sit in front of a screen at my kitchen table was hard to get used to. 
After a couple weeks, I got into a “normal” schedule of waking up, going to class and working out after school. I found it hard to pay attention during class because of the distractions online and outside. I achieved excellent grades but had to work extra hard due to the unusual learning conditions. 
The biggest challenge experienced during quarantine was not being able to get close to my friends and family. My brother lives in Mobile, Alabama, and has a son who is almost 1. My parents and I usually visit his family, but the crisis prohibited us from hugging and playing with the baby. My friends and I have not been able to hang out,  which made this pandemic even harder. This quarantine has made me realize that I need in-person, human interaction. 
Without my faith, I do not know how I would have made it through this experience. My faith has been tested, partially because we cannot attend weekly Mass. My family and I have been attending online Mass. 
It has been very hard to see the last two months of my high school experience, including my final golf season, athletic banquets, senior crawfish boil and even graduation, get pushed aside. I know it may not seem like it now, but God makes everything happen for a reason; he has a plan for every person. And, knowing that he is in control and is always there for me has really helped me through these chaotic times. 
One thing I have learned during this pandemic is that I love spending time outdoors. Being stuck inside all day sitting at a computer has made me want to be outside even more. I have also learned how valuable time with friends and family is. With both my parents working, my siblings living in different states and not being able to be with friends, I have realized how precious our time together was/is.
After 15 years, I never thought that my life as a Sacred Heart student would come to an end, but it did, abruptly. This quarantine gave me time to think about how I should never take anything for granted, because I may never get that time back.
I think this crisis has made me stronger. It has made my relationships with my friends and family stronger. 
This summer will look very different. I had planned to work at a sleepaway camp. Our training week, which is usually only a week long, will now be two weeks long to serve as a quarantine and training period before campers arrive. 
As far as the far future goes, I see our Southern culture changing due to this pandemic. Many of my friends and I believe that shaking hands when you meet someone and hugging people goodbye or hello will not happen for awhile. Schools and universities have to make changes to their everyday life. I will be attending LSU next year, and changes already have been announced there. 

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