by Dylan Lee.
How will people change and grow in the wake of the pandemic?
We don’t yet know the answer – and, in some respects, we don’t even know the right questions to ask.
The pandemic continues to dramatically affect our lives, including our relationships with other people in our communities, our families, our homes and our peers. Our seniors, Class of 2022 created the opportunity to develop a theme that brought a strong sense of community which WSP has always taken pride in. The theme, “Togetherness” has brought many smiles, laughter and joy to be back as a whole to celebrate the new school year.
For some, losing face-to-face contact with people and being thrown into much closer contact than usual can feel stressful and may be worrying, frightening or even unbearable. However, our high school retreat was well planned with signature activities that brought all new high school students, returning students, faculty and staff together to engage and be with each other for a meaningful social time.
For over a year, the pandemic has taught us how to come together virtually, and during that time, we have lost the sense of community and belonging that’s inherently cultivated through in-person, face-to-face interactions. With encouraging news of COVID-19 vaccines and a good sense of how WSP had brought us all back on campus since last October, we now have an idea of what the future of school can be. This year’s high school retreat had taught us that creating opportunity for people to spend time together and rebuild community — not just in the school, but in every aspect of our daily lives — will be more important than ever.
We all belong to a variety of different communities — physical and virtual — but ultimately, we eventually need to come together again in person. As we shift to a hybrid future of whatever it may be, we see a set of nested problems: How can we rebuild our lives that sparks innovation, connection and community? How do we ensure those connections extend beyond our peers? It starts by connecting people at the human scale, a few people at a time. And at WSP high school, we seem to know how to thread around this carefully and mindfully with space and care for each other in coming together.