Juniors on their Upcoming Senior Year

Samantha Ramirez, Writer

On March 13, 2020 the world went into lockdown, meaning the closure of Downey High School. The class of 2023– freshmen at the time, were rid of the rest of their freshman year along with their sophomore year. Some chose to return for a few months during their sophomore year, but a majority chose to remain on distance learning. However, life has now a semblance of normalcy and these once freshmen are now choosing courses and preparing for their senior year.


 These now juniors, along with every other student missed out on numerous events such as dances and sporting events– and the little things such as socializing with their friends and teachers. For Sofia Hammond-Mota, 11 ,transitioning from quarantine to the return to school has “really made herself and others more appreciative of each other, teachers as well” and “Since coming in person [she] has felt a lot more unity and school spirit on campus.” Since coming back to school and throughout her three years at Downey High, Hammond-Mota has “taken multiple honors and AP classes, played the saxophone in marching band and jazz ensemble, and was one of the leads in the Drama Department’s production of Clue.” She was even very recently chosen as a representative of Downey for the American Legion Boys/Girls State Event. Sofia, a sociable person, has made the most out of her time back at school and has enjoyed “being able to be with people in class, at rallies, and football games.” Sofia considers herself “ not necessarily nervous about senior year”, but rather excited to have the best final year that she can and slightly sad that her high school experience will be ending. For her senior year, Sofia plans to continue with marching band and jazz ensemble, she is unsure about her major but hopes to be accepted into a good UC.


Similarly, Erika Avila, 11, finds that the largest impact that the presence of coronavirus and the quarantine had on her was that “[she] wasn’t able to see my friends as much, do the school activities [she] normally would have been able to, and have the same learning experience as in in-person school.” Erika is excited to be back and has gladly been able to get back into her niche– key club, power 4 periods club, anatomy club, the tending TA’s club, and Downey High’s swim team. Avila finds herself unnerved for senior year, but rather excited for graduation and what lays ahead. She plans to “go to a university that’s far away.”


For Sasha Mena, 11, the lack of sociability wasn’t what affected her the most. She states, “during freshman year, I had a routine to follow: I would attend school at a specific time,do after school activities and would come home and do homework.” This was something that was completely unavailable during distance learning– though we had to adhere to a schedule for school, days melted into weeks and weeks into months in front of the zoom interface. Given this problem, Mena found that “it [returning back to school] was a weird switch, [she] was so used to doing everything on [her] own time.” Despite socializing not being her biggest qualm about distance learning, it has been her  biggest enjoyment of this school year. She stated, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the new people I’ve met through clubs, link crew,  and overall the people I see everyday in class.” She continued by saying” I didn’t really know a lot of people freshman year, especially since the school year got cut short and it was hard to interact with other people during online school. So coming back junior year made me realize how much I enjoy talking to people in person.” This newly discovered trait has led Mena to serve in link crew, as a tutor for freshman, and to join Downey’s Truth Be Told Club where students get to socialize and help out at local churches. Mena finds herself nervous for senior year given the uncertainty that comes with it along with the daunting tasks such as college applications, majors, etc.


Senior year will surely come faster than anticipated, but juniors should have the utmost confidence in themselves as they step into this new phase of their high school career, and soon enough–adulthood.