(Photo Credit: Fr. Raphael)

Photo Credit: Fr. Raphael

Embracing This New Year

September 16, 2020

2020 has been a disorderly and uncomfortable year in many different ways: the seniors missed out on a Senior Prom and went through an unpleasant last quarter with an unusual graduation, all students remained at home on computers for the majority of each day, and the Cistercian faculty endured so much stress and worked overtime so that we students could have the best learning experience possible. Everyone has gone through their own trials and discomforts during these times, but with an upcoming school year comes many exciting improvements and thrills to look forward to.

School officially starts on August 24, with all grades having online school for the first week and in-person classes beginning on September 2. This initial, online start to school offers everyone – both students and faculty – a comfortable easing into the new school year. Additionally, improvements to online schooling and technology have been made in order to give all students an easier, and more enjoyable, learning experience outside of the classroom. As some of you may already know, Cistercian is switching to Office365 and Microsoft Teams. The switch to Microsoft is a huge improvement from an organizational standpoint, but this switch will also give us students a better feel of programs that are actually used in real, day-to-day business jobs. Additionally, having Teams and Office365 will allow for everyone to be more organized with assignments and projects from home even after in-person schooling begins. Although cumbersome at first, by getting used to these new setups, there is so much that we will learn from a technology standpoint that we would not otherwise get in our normal, less electronic routine.

With the effects of the pandemic, Cistercian has taken the opportunity to make vast terrain improvements and safety changes. Personally, I am most excited for the incredible renovations to the Upper Field, which is being completely upgraded. The hill and trees located in the far back of the original Upper Field, which have taken the lives of many balls and frisbees, are being totally demolished in order to make the field nice and big. Upon entering the classroom again for the first time since March, I highly recommend you take a look at the new field improvements. Another one of my favorite additions for students is the water fountains. Cistercian is replacing all of the past water fountains with fast water bottle filling stations. This improvement is primarily for the safety of the students, but now you’ll never be late to class again after waiting in the long water fountain line only to get one sip in before the bell rings. Unfortunately, lunch will not be held in the lunchroom anymore, and the use of the microwaves and vending machines is no longer allowed. However, the classic lunch banter can be taken outdoors, especially with the new shading and extra lunch spaces Cistercian is creating. Also, tons of new furniture has been added outside on campus, making even the outdoors feel like home.

As a rising senior, I see endless amounts of fun, learning, and opportunity ahead of us. There are so many different changes being made for our school, how could I not be excited for such a unique year? How awesome is it that we will go back to school without a teacher’s desk, social distance with classmates, wear uncomfortable masks all day, and still manage to find unique ways to have fun and learn with each other?

To all seniors, I have a special goal for us for the 2020 school year. As the eldest students at Cistercian, we play a unique role as leaders and role models for the rest of the student body. Upon returning to school, we will have our classes in the library separated from the rest of the school. Although far from the rest of the students, I challenge us to be a source of inspiration and ex- citement for the Cistercian student body. Through all of the discomforts, we will learn the most, we will have the most fun, but most importantly, we will be a shining light for the rest of the school to look at, so that we might instill a sense of excitement and passion for this new school year—our last opportunity to make our mark, and leave behind a great legacy, at Cistercian, the school we know and love.

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