How a Student Feels About High School Reopening

Leo (Class of 2022) and Annie Scheidler (Class of 2023)

Last night at dinner I told my family that I was going to have to take a break from social media. I had finally hit my limit of crazy when it comes to the discussion of our local high school reopening. While I realize there is no easy path to making this happen, it must. The reasons for not opening no longer make any sense to me.

As I was on my soapbox at the dinner table, I watched my daughter Annie’s body language completely change. When I asked her what was up, she said that no one has really asked her what she thinks of the high school’s current learning environment. Yes, she’s filled out a survey, and yes, teachers have checked in on her mental health, but no one has specifically asked her if she’d like to be back at school or not.

Annie is a sophomore at Lake Forest High School and she’ll be embarrassed for me to say this, but she’s a great student and very self-motivated. She chose to do the hybrid option at the high school this year, with the understanding was that she would have two days of remote learning and two days of in-person instruction. Much to her disappointment, she only has one teacher that has chosen to be in-person on her hybrid days.

I asked Annie if she’d be willing to give us her take on the current state of things at the high school and she did. Below are her answers to the questions I asked.


AMS: What has the last year been like for you?

Annie: I would say last school year before spring break was super fun for me. I enjoyed going to school, seeing my friends, and the workload was manageable. This past year, however, all aspects that make school enjoyable have been taken away, and everything is strictly work. And at least for me, the workload is overwhelming more often than not. It is very hard to stay motivated to do it all.

AMS: Do you feel like you’re learning as much remotely as you did in person?

Annie: I know I am learning, but it takes 3x as much effort to learn one concept compared to last year when I was in the building with my teachers. And for most of my classes, I feel the need to look up additional YouTube videos on what I learned in class in order to fill in the gaps. So no, not as much, and it is very hard to learn when staring at a screen 6+ hours a day.

AMS: What has been the hardest part of learning remotely?

Annie: The hardest part is that all of the fun things that made school enjoyable have been taken away. Hybrid hasn’t done much to help the problem either because for most students, hybrid is remote learning in the school building, and that is not what I signed up for. Remote learning is all work and no friends, no school events, nothing. Hybrid is the same, too. I never get to be with my friends at school because their last names fall at the beginning of the alphabet and mine is at the end. Also, it is very hard when you feel you are struggling in a class because the extra help resources, like the MRC, are just not the same online as they are in person.

AMS: What is the one thing you wish those in charge of reopening the schools understood?

Annie: I wish they understood that we need to be surrounded by friends, have sports, and have school events like dances to look forward to in order to stay motivated to do the work. We only get four years of high school, and everyone says it goes by in the blink of an eye, and now one of those years is completely down the drain for me. I don’t want to look back on my time in high school and think it was mostly behind a screen.

AMS: What would you think if you heard that your junior year was going to look like your sophomore year?

Annie: If my junior year is a continuation of this year, I will be extremely upset. I saw how much fun Eddie [her brother] had in high school with his friends and all the fun stuff and weird things he got to do in school, and I want the same. Everyone at LFHS is getting gipped right now. If junior year is like this for me, I will be in my third year of high school with only 3/4 of a year of a normal high school experience.


I just share Annie’s answers in the hopes of shining a light on another perspective when it comes to reopening our schools. Our family LOVES Lake Forest High School. Annie is our fourth child to attend there. My husband and I took a leap from the Catholic education we grew up in to send our kids to the public school and our expectations have been exceeded every step of the way until this last year. The pandemic caught us all off guard, and grace must be given for that. But it’s time to figure this out. We have countless examples in our neighborhoods of schools that have reopened successfully and it’s inexcusable that an institution of Lake Forest’s caliber and resources has not.

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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  1. Mary kay wrote:

    My heart breaks for her and all these students especially in HS. I have a son who is a JR and a cross country runner. These kids need the social interaction. It’s what gets them thru the good and the bad days. I too have an Annie who is my youngest and an 8th grader. She is not thrilled with being in school for the same reasons your Annie expressed. She feels isolated with no one to talk to. Masks on all day and social distancing. She mentioned that learning is not the same as last year. How do we as parents keep these kids wanting to learn and be more social interactive in society? They are becoming more introverted. ( all the things the school and docs have said to us parents about limiting tv, phones, internet for kids has totally gone out the window!) I often chuckle remembering the physical exams asking how many hours do the kids spend on their devises. Making you nervous if you said a few hrs a day or more.Thanks for sharing this discussion. Living in Illinois is much different than other areas ( other states whose restriction is not as harsh as ours)These kids need to go back to school. Thx,Mk

    Posted 2.26.21 Reply
    • Ann Marie Scheidler wrote:

      Mary Kay, thank you so much for your support. I feel like we are the majority, but we just don’t have much of a voice in all of this and our kids have even less. It’s so sad. Please tell your Annie to hang in there. It has to get better. xo

      Posted 2.27.21 Reply
  2. Alicia Nagy wrote:

    Thank you for writing this. My high schoolers could echo much of what Annie says. The workload is so much more because so much on screen is asked of them even when the whole school day on screen is over. It is not healthy in the slightest! It’s infuriating that they are not allowed to eat together at school when people do at restaurants! People sit next to each other on airplane flights! Come on!

    Posted 2.27.21 Reply
    • Ann Marie Scheidler wrote:

      So well said, Alicia! Enough is enough.

      Posted 3.1.21 Reply
  3. Former TFS Editor wrote:

    When you look at any professionals career path, the foundations of their intrinsic motivation for that field–or even the habits that have made them successful in that field–trace back to high school. I often find myself thinking “If I were in high school right now…” and the short answer is I’d be angry. At this point in time, my patience would have been exhausted and I would be angry. At first, we all thought the seniors of 2020 had it the worst: no prom, no prom, no graduation, etc. Then the class of 2021 had it worse with no sports, no homecoming, no prom, no plays, no social interaction, etc. The class of 2022 is not going to have a high school experience at all. What will the secondary education experience look like for the class of 2023? I got increasingly worried and anxious thinking about the future generation and who they will be after missing out on so much valuable experience. As educators, we need to educate, but more importantly, as essential leaders and role models for these students, we need to advocate FOR THEM…We simply cannot have another school year like the one we’re in right now. We tried it, it didn’t work. Good players adjust. It’s time for education to make a bold move.

    Posted 2.27.21 Reply
    • Ann Marie Scheidler wrote:

      Such wonderful points! Thank you for sharing!

      Posted 3.1.21 Reply