Juniors Begin Pathway Year as Coronavirus Panic Continues


Kimberly Collins

Tough Stuff: Juniors in the school’s IB Pathways are already contending with tough academic hurdles. And the realities of remote-education have made a difficult situation even more so. Junior Avery Horton is one of many who is rising to the challenge.

Junior year: a turning point for the Class of 2022. Many juniors have anticipated this year for a while, as it marks a point in life where they can finally drive to school, celebrate sweet 16s and 17s, and, of course, start their educational pathways. Juniors have the option to embark on pathways at the start of 11th grade, with choices being the International Baccalaureate (IB) path, Advanced Placement (AP), Workplace Learning, or Dual Enrollment (DE). This year the pathways will take a non-traditional route, as they will begin online as the pandemic rages on. With this abnormal change in plans for the school year, current juniors are learning to adapt to these unforeseen situations.

 Balancing IB, a highly intense and rigorous program, is tough on a good day. Yet with this unprecedented alteration to the school schedule and location, numerous juniors are finding it difficult to focus in classes and develop a strict routine. One such student is IB Diploma Program junior Elle Aferiat, who blames the adversity on the drole learning environment that virtual school creates. “Sometimes I just feel so lazy and unmotivated to focus in class,” she says. “However I try to stay on top of my work despite these odd circumstances.”

Carmen Aycock, a junior Dual Enrollment student attending Georgia State, was ready for the change in scenery. When the plans for virtual learning were unveiled, she was devastated to find out she would be unable to go on campus this semester. Fortunately, college classes are still being held, even though they are on a virtual platform. “It’s been a little rocky since I would’ve loved to have a ‘college life’ experience,” says Aycock. “But online classes do give me a relaxation period I’d never get at school.”

Many students opt for a different pathway. Some juniors take AP classes, such as Statistics and U.S. History, and find it equally challenging to maintain focus and stay on task. Aycock and Aferiat attest to the claim that online school makes it more difficult to absorb content. However, they are thankful for their understanding teachers and smaller workloads.

As the school year progresses, the adjustment to a virtual learning environment is an obstacle many are struggling with, but taking things one day at a time will place students in a position where they gradually become comfortable. Regardless, most students are hopeful for a future return to school within the first two terms, and this mindset acts as a saving grace. The North Atlanta Warriors can conquer anything that’s thrown at them, be it through a screen or face-to-face.