What’s normal?


Zeltzin Mondragon-Garcia, EagleAir staffer

Now that COVID is ramping down, what does a normal Nixa High School experience look like? Zeltzin Mondragon-Garcia explores.



ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: Thanks for tuning in to this EagleAir Podcasts. I’m Zeltzin Mondragon-Garcia. On March 13, 2020 students were released for spring break. Soon after, students were given a 2-week extension to the break later to find out they’d be restrained to the parameters of their housing. 

The graduating class of 2020 experienced a senior year full of Zoom classes, quarantine, masks, and more. As for the current senior class of 2023, their freshman year was filled with 6.5 months of what was considered a normal school year. 

When the class of 2023 came back in the fall of 2020, there was a mask mandate required at schools and in most public properties. The year 2021 was supposed to be our year of recovery, yet we continued to have many people absent, and sick because of the virus. That brings us to now November 15, 2022. Finally, a normal school year after having three years of the pandemic and crisis. 

I spoke with Lucas Finger from the graduating class of 2022 on how COVID affected his time at Nixa High School. How would you describe your high school experience compared to the stereotypical high school experience that you see in movies like high School Musical? 

LUCAS FINGER: Well, first of all, we don’t break out into song. No, but the biggest thing is that I had one normal year of high school, which is my freshman year. Before sophomore year I got cut short because of COVID. And then junior year it was still wearing masks and everything. 

And then senior year we came back. But we still had flare-ups and stuff. So I would say the biggest difference is everyone is sick. Everyone got sick a lot more. And usually in Twilight, they don’t deal with a global pandemic. So that’s– I mean, those vampires– we didn’t have those but– 

ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: Do you like use more precaution or less precaution than back when your freshman year, sophomore year, like when you first learned that COVID was still a thing. And like was coming to the US and that kind of stuff. 

LUCAS FINGER: Yeah, I do use a lot more caution now whenever– that’s something I’ve learned from the pandemic. And it’s probably something that I’ll keep with me through my entire life. Is that like if I feel sick, and I haven’t taken a quick COVID test or something, then I’ll wear a mask wherever I go. 

And my freshman I would never have done that. Would have always come to class just copying and everything. I wouldn’t have cared because– 

ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: Nobody really knew– 



LUCAS FINGER: Yeah, and even if– when we just had a cold like I still wear it if I have a cold. Right now it’s because of the allergies. So I can’t infect people with allergies. But I still keep my distance from anyone that I think might be sick like your coughing or something just to be safe. But I try to get rid of that judgemental or stare when people cough. 

ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: From the senior class of 2023, I was accompanied by Justice Jones. We spoke about how her high school career had been affected by this virus. Do you think COVID affected a lot of your normal high school experience? 

JUSTICE JONES: I mean, yeah of course. We were out for a quarter and then for a full year, we had to mask. And I couldn’t see people’s faces. Or people I met in my sophomore year that I physically did not know what their face looked like, until either the year after. Or when we were sitting at lunch one day and they took their mask off. 

ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: Would you say having to quarantine and go virtual was a positive or negative experience for you? 

JUSTICE JONES: I’m going to be real. That was positive for me. I was going through a lot on mental things and I really didn’t want to be at school any time in that time. So it was really good to just go home. 

ZELTZIN MONDRAGON-GARCIA: When going through the pandemic it affected almost every part of our lives. From simply walking out of the door to going and buying groceries. 

Special shout out to our teachers and staff for adjusting numerous amount of times and helping us have a somewhat normal high school experience. This has been Zeltzin Mondragon-Garcia for EagleAir podcasts.