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A Disjointed January Kicks Off Second Semester

Four of the first ten days of the semester were impacted by weather this semester.

As the second semester kicked off, Rockhurst High School students were greeted with a wintry, wild series of events. Two snow days in the first week of school, and more to follow, resulted in an unexpected shift to online learning and a movement of the sophomore retreat as well as the Pre-ACT.

While snow days aren’t uncommon in the Midwest, the recent pandemic equipped schools with the tools to transition smoothly into remote learning. Thus, the snow days didn’t mean a day off but, rather, a day online.

The first day back of the semester was a normal A day at Rockhurst. The Tuesday and Wednesday that followed were back-to-back online days. During these days, Rockhurst classes started at either 9:30 or 10:30 a.m.–depending on whether it was an A or B day–and were shorter then normal, with each class lasting no more than an hour. This sudden change was an abnormal start to the newest semester at school.

“The abrupt changes virtual days represent are real; it’s hard for students to switch into that mode of learning, and for teachers, into that mode of teaching,” said science teacher Tim Nendick.

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Teachers and students alike navigated Zoom meetings and Google Classroom assignments, transforming their homes into temporary classrooms. The shift, although sudden, was not unfamiliar thanks to the experiences of the past few years.

The cancellation of in-person school on Wednesday did mean the sophomore retreat was moved to Thursday instead.

While many students likely saw these developments as a positive, they did make things complicated for teachers.

“I feel like it’s hard to get traction this semester,” said theology teacher and assistant pastoral minister Ryan McAnany. “Every time we try to start up, we have to start over again. It’s definitely testing my patience, because I think I do better with routine.”

The following week, due to another snow storm and below-zero temperatures as low as -7 degrees, Rockhurst called yet another virtual day. The 9:30 start to the virtual A day was less of a challenge for students and teachers due to the prior few days.

“It was really nice to stay home and relax instead of spending the day in school,” said sophomore Pierce Williams.

While the odd start of the semester brought many obstacles for countless people it also was good training. Virtual days offer a practical solution for unexpected situations, like weather emergencies, allowing learning to continue uninterrupted. They also provide students and teachers with the necessary experience to handle online platforms and tools efficiently.  

“It’s important we have the ability to not come in on certain days and still learn when the conditions are such that they make driving legitimately more dangerous and difficult,” said Nendick.

Rockhurst then canceled school again on Jan. 22 due to icy roads and walkways. This day wasn’t scheduled to be a normal school day, so a day of instruction wasn’t affected. However, juniors were supposed to take the practice ACT, while sophomores and freshmen were going to take the Pre-ACT. Juniors did their test from home, but the Pre-ACT still has yet to be rescheduled.

“The cancellation of the test, while fun, also disrupted my studying and caused a lot of unneeded stress over the test,” said sophomore Bodie Aurther.

To top a haphazard January, seniors returned to school from their service projects on Monday, meaning another time of transition and adjustment for all of the Rockhurst students, faculty and staff.

Despite the challenges, the spirit of the faculty, staff and students remained adapted to the change, proving that learning can happen anywhere, anytime.

The oddities, while challenging, weren’t all bad though. It provided people with something many don’t often have during a semester: time.

One enjoyable feature of these virtual days…is getting to spend more time at home with my wife and kids,” said McAnany.


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About the Contributor
Sam LaSala, Staff Reporter
My name is Sam LaSala, and this year will be my first on the newspaper staff. In the past, I have always loved to write and talk to people for information that could be used on writing projects. I am extremely social, outgoing and creative. These attributes give me the confidence to say that I will be a great addition to the Rockhurst High School newspaper team. I want to write for the school newspaper, because I would love to be able to use my writing skills to my advantage to cover stories and other intriguing topics. Newspaper will not only be great for me now, but in the future as well. This subject can improve my writing skills now and give me more knowledge, and it will also look great on my resume for future schools and jobs. At the moment I am not involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at Rockhurst, but this sophomore year I plan to join a club and use it to my advantage as well. Getting involved in a club could get me more introduced to the school and other aspects as well--especially for the future. My goals for the future are to get above a 3.8 GPA and, possibly, even become a leader for various projects at the school. With these intentions in mind, I hope that they could boost my resume to get into as good a college as possible. As I progress in the newspaper this year I am enthusiastic to see what else it brings to the table.
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