By Samantha Renzulli, Eleanor Jacobs, and Sarah Green
(Left to right: Sarah Green, Blur Editor; Eleanor Jacobs, Associate Editor; Samantha Renzulli, Editor-in-Chief)
What does it mean to be a part of a community? The Warde community, whatever that means to you, used to be defined by the building that housed it. However, for the past two years, that essence of community has been ambiguous and foreign. It has existed not between people but distant faces and darkened screens. Creating a community became a student’s individual responsibility, and its strength faltered because of it. Now that students are back in the building, community must be redefined to acknowledge the past and protect the future.
The environment we’ve returned to is “semi-normal.” We maneuver between classes, study, take tests, and eat lunch with friends. Our masks remain the minimal evidence of what we’ve been through. However, the community has undeniably changed. The upperclassmen who used to teach us how to don school spirit have graduated (they are now us), and younger classes lost the time in which they would have learned. Jumping into high school is a new experience: it’s more sink or swim than ever before. We have lost hours in the classroom and hours of education, both academic and social. The high school workload is difficult enough to manage; we now manage it as a different sort of strain and stamina. We are hindered not only academically but socially, physically and mentally. Our community is forced to redefine itself.
Sports games once roared without a moment’s rest. Chants outnumbered the lowerclassmen blushing in the back. Those new to the school don’t realize that this fire and noise is now missing. Students’ connection to the community has faltered. Remember, you are part of Warde, regardless of if it’s your first time in the building. You are responsible for your good time. In order to rejuvenate Friday night games, find something worthwhile about showing up besides standing next to your personal community. We are greater than our lunch tables. Your Warde experience is more than 104 pages of Anthem and finally taking your last SAT. Celebrate ourselves. Paul is great, but the student body taking pride in one another is something of its own.
The pandemic has robbed us of pillars in our lives: time, experiences, loved ones. As we do our best in combating it, remember not only the massive but the seemingly menial casualties: the acquaintance you used to speak with in Freshman year Global Studies, the good humor between you two lost organically to time. Remember the teacher that you would linger with after the bell rang. Remember the small things, the things that we took for granted, the things that still matter. We have the opportunity to seize those moments again, and it is up to us to reach for them.
The cultivation of community is a duty for everyone at Warde. Faculty and staff, the community has changed and we must change with it. Warde cannot rely on old systems of fostering connections; it must adapt. Students, we must learn to open the communities we’ve created on our own and make the most of what we have at Warde while we’re here. Wasting our time harboring negative energy disparages our experiences within it. Whether Warde will be remembered as the best 4 years of your life or merely a stepping stone to something greater, this community is ours. It must be reevaluated as a means of support rather than hindrance, and be the responsibility of all who dwell within.