A generation of students reinventing how they learn and socialize

Every day for the past five months, Airon Alexander, 16, has been working out his feelings.

 “It’s obviously a shock, I wanted to have fun with my friends my senior year,” Alexander said.

All the milestones and moments that play out inside the walls of Bethel High School are on hold for the incoming senior and everyone else in the Bethel School District.

Last week, the district announced there would be no in-person learning, at least in the beginning of the fall, due to COVID-19.  The news followed many other school districts that made the same decision. 

Alexander says the pandemic has taught him the value of social interactions at school.

“It’s sad just because I don’t get to see them and interact with them like I used to. I miss the faculty and teachers, had a lot of cool teachers,” Alexander said.

Alexander also missed taking the SATs back in May, and like so many on the cusp of going to college, it’s created many uncertainties.

“I wanted to know which colleges, my top 3 that I wanted to go by this summer, it’s thrown it off,” Alexander said.

Delayed, certainly, but not even a pandemic can stop Alexander’s drive to succeed.

 “I’m not shying away from it,” Alexander said. 

The Spanaway teen was selected to be his school’s treasurer and a leader in band for the upcoming school year. 

He will also continue in the academically rigorous Cambridge program, something Alexander humbly tried to downplay during our interview.

“I would be the first one in my family to go to a four-year university and hopefully graduate, so it’s really big for me and my family to go to a good school, to try to be the most successful individual I can,” Alexander said.

His generation is now having to reinvent how to learn and socialize.

“For me it’s obviously a big loss but I can understand there is a bigger scope of things,” Alexander said.

Alexander says he will make the most out of online learning and will remain motivated. He also picked up a job at a local Fred Meyer this summer to be less cooped up in the house.