Students after a semester of NTI


Graphic by Mya Cummins.

Ofelia Mattingly and Mya Cummins

JCPS schools closed on March 13th, and were originally supposed to go back to in-person schooling the second week of April. However, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the 2019-2020 in-person school year was adjourned. Students, still unable to return to school, have almost finished their first semester of the next grade in NTI. Here are what students think after almost finishing the first semester of school.

Some people believe that living in this situation is surreal.
“It honestly is crazy because I honestly did not believe this was going to happen and even during it I’ve never known how it would play out so it’s honestly crazy,” Madelaine Dougherty (10, J&C) said.

“It feels unreal,” Brianna Woods (10, J&C) said. “So much has happened and no one has had to process any of it. It’s been a year and yet it feels like it’s been a month. But it also feels like it’s been several years. Time isn’t real.”

Other students had different thoughts about NTI.

“It was necessary, but it has not been easy or as productive as in-person school,” Rachel Isaac (11, MST) said.

This is my first year at Manual, and it has definitely been an interesting experience doing NTI. It’s hard because I am at a brand new school, I haven’t met any of my teachers in person and I only know a few of my classmates. I wish that I could have met everyone and gotten the hang of how things work at school,” Triniti Rice (11, HSU) said.  “However, I think I’m grateful that I got to slowly transition from my old school to new school, and I got to really focus on my academics. With NTI, I don’t have to rush into meeting everyone and trying to get involved. I have been able to sit back and slowly ease my way into Manual Life.”

While some students have trouble entering a new school through NTI, others are finding it difficult to entertain the thought of ending their high school experiences with online school. “Definitely sucks because it’s my senior year and the class of 2021 just really missed out on so much like prom and our last Red/White week,” Ikshitha Tippi (12, MST) said. On a more positive note, they add, “it’s kinda nice being able to do more of what we want and wake up later than normal.” 

Some students have adjusted well to NTI and do not mind staying in virtual classes.

“I feel fine,” Meredith Thomas (12, YPAS) said. “I’ve created a routine and have really had the time to go at my own pace with school. I’m honestly not that mad about the possibility of staying virtual.”

As the semester draws to an end, many students like Juliette Cabral (12, YPAS) are taking time to appreciate the final moments of 2020.

“I feel incredibly accomplished about completing a year in NTI because this year was far from easy,” Dara Zahorik (10, HSU) said.

Being in NTI has taken a mental toll on many students and left them feeling sad, lonely and disconnected.

“I feel like I’m missing out on so much,” Allison Durand (12, YPAS) said. 

The main thing students miss about being in NTI is the social aspect of in-person school.

“I miss being with people and having the ability to say stuff in class without interrupting,” Dougherty said.

“I miss my friends, my teachers, and basketball games,” Rice said.

Both Eliza Gallagher, Zahorik (12, MST), and Durand miss hanging out with friends and seeing people.

Many students miss everything Manual has to offer.

“I miss actually learning. I miss band classes. I miss my friends. I miss absolutely everything,” Cabral said.

“I miss almost everything. The daily structure, the environment of the building, social interaction, after school activities,” Keeley James (11, MST) said.

As students go on break and count down the days left in 2020, they take time to reflect on the countless events that have led to such a chaotic year. They imagine what this semester could have been and reminisce on past times in school. The year has been filled with uncertainties and obstacles that the Manual community has had to overcome.

Infographic by Mya Cummins.