Concord Wrapped: an end to the academic year 2020-2021 and all its highlights, events and the experience as a whole.
It has finally arrived. After months of anticipation the 25th of June has been and gone, signalling an end to the academic year and the start of those glorious few months we know as summer. Students quickly flock to take the next available flight home, and my Instagram stories are oversaturated with the compulsory picture of Heathrow’s windows/cafes/stores/airplanes. Am I also guilty of this? Yes.
But as we all eagerly enjoy the well-deserved holidays ahead, let’s remember the year we struggled through to get here in the first place; all the blood, sweat and tears poured into what might possibly the worst years for education in recent memory (I will not debate this with any history students).
For many of us in 6.1, the unique situation of the pandemic meant that most students spent less than 2 terms in school. As such, a lot of schooling was done online through Teams. As Ellen, a 6.1 student and Head of the Biochemistry Discussion Group writes about her own experiences studying online this year: “Online learning was quite challenging at first; it was difficult staying focused in my room when I could only think about going outside. I missed the neurochemical qualities of face-to-face learning, often worrying that I wasn’t learning as much. Our teachers made great efforts to communicate with us, and found creative ways to keep us engaged however, which we really appreciated. I think this has been an interesting experience for everyone, and I definitely became more fluent in digital skills.”
Fortunately, there were a few glimmers of hope in an otherwise bleak year. Some House events still managed to happen, such as House Cross Country, House Volleyball, Sports Day, and even towards the end of the year, House Mathematics. These events provided entertainment and the chance for students to demonstrate merits beyond the academic field (or in the case of House Mathematics, further flex their astounding academic prowess). Many students viewed these events as a much-needed distraction from the hectic and often monotonous school day brought about by the pandemic, and as a new-student, I myself was a bit taken aback by the competitiveness of students when it came to these events.
And of course, speaking of much needed distractions, Concord definitely pulled all the stops when it came to the various celebrations hosted throughout the year. From the Chinese New Year Buffet and its magnificent fireworks display (ignoring the fact that we stood in -5 degree weather), to the Beach Party at the end of the year, with its mouth-watering barbeque and the variety of drinks available (non-alcoholic, of course.) We often get so wrapped up with work here in Concord, and once again, these parties offered another avenue to let loose and have a bit of fun.
Of course, I have been going on forever about letting loose from our schoolwork without actually talking about the schoolwork itself. As students were faced with seemingly mountains of assignments from teachers, many discovered inner tenacity or came up with innovative ways to deal with assignments. Whether it was pushing themselves to put in an extra hour of work to complete assignments, or using various apps to increase typing speed/ sustain focus/ or even summarise information, the unique circumstances of the year has brought out better versions of students that have managed to rise above the vast problems of the year.
So here we are, at the end of this article and this year. When I named this article Concord Wrapped, inspired by Spotify Wrapped, I aimed – like the music streaming service, to capture the highlights of the entire year. And in the face of a year like this, the main theme that really shines through is perseverance. From various House and party events being hosted in Concord to try and replicate normalcy, to the strength of the students in simply pushing on with learning and finding new ways to cope with work, getting through this year can really be said to be like running a marathon, if the marathon was being run in a thunderstorm and somewhere on that journey there was a mountain that needed to be climbed…I digress. And as we all finally enjoy the fruits of our labour in the form of summer where we don’t have to swipe for registration (a big W in my book), let’s not forget to thank the various teachers, friends and parents who have helped us reach the finish line. But let’s also not forget, another year looms on the horizon, with its own obstacles and challenges coming up, with Pre-U week at the end of term hinting at things to come…
With that, I’d like to conclude my Concord Wrapped for the academic year 2020-2021 and wish everyone a great summer ahead.
p.s. Don’t forget to watch the video Chester made about the Beach Party!
Ethan and Chester – 6.1