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High-schoolers keep busy, miss friends

Personal Stories: Behind the Pandemic

St. Anthony freshman Margaret Monteleone takes a photo of a sunset from her home. Photography is one of the many art hobbies she’s been abiding by state and county orders to stay at home. — Photo courtesy of Margaret Monteleone

EDITOR’S NOTE. Personal Stories Behind The Pandemic is a feature The Maui News will run periodically about how people, groups and organizations are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This installment deals with high schoolers, who are out of school. If you would like to share a personal story, email citydesk@mauinews.com with your story and contact information.

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Word rapidly was moving across the state in mid-March about the possibility of shutting down schools for an extended spring break to combat the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Freshmen just were getting into the high school groove and seniors were on their way to graduation when the coronavirus quickly halted all classes, sports and other school-related activities.

Spring break originally was scheduled to run from March 16 to 20 for most schools. The state Department of Education later announced that the break would be extended by one week through March 27. Resumption of school was moved to April 6, then to at least April 30.

Seabury sophomore Kaylee Volner sits in on an online class through Google Meets earlier this week. — Photo courtesy of Kaylee Volner

Private schools also kept students away from campus, some turning to virtual and online learning

So, what are the thousands of Maui teens up to with the stay-at-home order and being out of school?  

Some students reported that they were surfing, working out, playing video games, watching Netflix and starting online classes. Others were spending extra time with their families, starting new hobbies and just practicing social distancing guidelines.

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Makena Stevenson,

Molokai High School senior Maria Angst smiles for a photo after a day of hunting. — Photo courtesy of Marla Angst

sophomore, Maui High School

To pass the time at home, Makena Stevenson has been running and working out every day, as well as doing homework assignments provided by schoolteachers.

Stevenson has been concerned and unsure whether students will be able to return to campus.

“I think this situation is horrible and very new to people,” Stevenson said. “We are all trying to adjust with each new day.

“I hope we get to go back and finish this school year.”

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Isaiah Richards,

senior, Baldwin High School

Isiah Richards, who recently came off solid football and basketball seasons, was all set to finish his final semester of high school when everything came to a halt.

“Honestly, this situation makes me realize how much school actually helped me and how much I took for granted,” Richards said. “I’m really only concerned about going back to school so I can graduate.”

His social distancing activities include playing games, watching TV and reaching out to colleges, but staying at home is challenging, he said, “especially when you can’t see your friends like you’re used to, but I’m going to have to get used to it.”

“I’m just trying to make the most of it, and train and stay in shape as much as possible so that if the season does resume then I’m ready,” said Richards, who is on the track team.

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Margaret Monteleone,

freshman, St. Anthony School

Margaret Monteleone said that her school has begun substituting normal class work with online alternatives, which has “taken time to get adjusted to.”

But the stay-at-home order also has opened up time for her to draw, paint, write and do other creative hobbies like photography.

As a new 400-meter runner for the Trojans, Monteleone has been keeping her fitness up by exercising in the yard and lifting weights in their home garage.

“I have been social distancing to the best of my ability,” she said. “Finding replacements for the activities I did before the pandemic was easier than I expected it to be.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, Monteleone hopes “we get back to our normal schedule, and this situation clears up by the expected date.”

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Maria Angst,

senior, Molokai High School

Lately, Maria Angst has been working on scholarships, college-prep assignments and other homework for her high school classes, as well as “trying my best to still be active.”

“I also am practicing some skills, including cooking and sewing,” Angst added.

Coming from a small community with limited resources, Angst said that some people seem to be struggling to deal with the situation but many still are making the effort to help those in need while maintaining social distancing.

And like many students, she’s concerned that school might not resume before the semester is over.

“Since this is my last year, I wanted to spend as much time with my classmates and friends before graduation, but now that time has been cut short,” she said. “As a senior, I can speak for every one that we are truly devastated about this situation happening during our last few months of school, but we are making the most of it as a class and as an island to be a strong, determined community.”

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Kaylee Volner,

sophomore, Seabury Hall

The COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols that have come with it have “altered my lifestyle and the lives of others around the community,” Kaylee Volner said.

Just a couple weeks ago, Volner was busy with sports, academics and other social obligations. But now, she feels as though there’s a lot of downtime.

“Throughout this situation, I have only seen a couple friends due to social distancing but have spent a lot of quality time with family,” she said. “Luckily, social media has kept me in touch with friends, although I’d rather see them in person.”

Seabury started online classes Thursday through Google Meets, which has been “nice to see faces and learn while keeping safe,” she said.

“I would like to get back to school and see all my friends, but it is best right now to stay home until this pandemic gets under control,” she added.

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Zack Fernando,

senior, Kihei Charter

In a previous interview, Zack Fernando said that he’s been taking advantage of the downtime by resting up, with the occasional home workout.

The senior is on his way to Ottawa University in Arizona but was looking forward to finishing his final year at Kihei Charter.

“Right now, I’m just outside skateboarding so that I get myself outside, just to get my body warmed up,” Fernando said. “I’ve been relaxing mostly, to get my head in the right mental state as in like, ‘this is happening right now, that’s happening,’ and just to slow everything down.”

While practicing social distancing, he has been checking up on his fellow high school tennis teammates “to see how they are doing” amid the pandemic.

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Cianna Yasutomi-Tancayo,

freshman, Maui High

Cianna Yasutomi-Tancayo said she’s been practicing social distancing because she wants to do her part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think that the situation we all are in sucks because everyone has to stay in their house and also because the COVID-19 is spreading,” she said.

While it can seem challenging to find activities to fill time at home, Yasutomi-Tancayo said she’s been doing chores, practicing batting in her batting cage at home, lifting weights and watching TV, as well as doing homework online recently provided by Maui High teachers.

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Ireani Tancayo,

senior, Baldwin High

As a creative arts student, Ireani Tancayo has been painting and taking photos from home while social distancing.

And waiting to hear from Baldwin about what’s planned for the Class of 2020’s graduation.

“I’ve been trying new hobbies like learning how to sew, so I can upcycle my old clothing, which will help my family save money in such difficult times,” Tancayo said. “My school hasn’t sent out much information regarding our situation.”

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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