Students wrote short letters to COVID three years after schools were shutdown.

To go with the special package in the March 2023 issue of the Kingwood Park Times, students were given an opportunity to write letters to COVID. This month marked the three-year anniversary since Humble ISD shut down schools to try to stop the spread of COVID as it continued to spread across the country. The shutdown lasted longer for some students, who remained virtual for a full year or more. No matter how long students stayed home, all were impacted. In their own words…


James Pham

You came out of nowhere in the middle of school when I was in 8th grade and everything changed so fast. I was in classrooms with my friends and enjoying the company around me, then I blinked and everything changed. 

Before I knew it I was waking up and logging into my laptop to attend my online classes. Those virtual classes were something else. Everyday activities were changed too. Normal Saturday grocery shopping was more of a hassle than it already was. The days felt depressing and sad too. Not being able to go outside of your home for hours and hours makes your home your own jail cell. I missed having the sun beaming onto my skin and seeing nature change around me. I missed going to hangouts after school with my friends. I missed going to San Antonio every summer to swim in the river. And I missed my everyday life.

   James Pham, 11


In 2019, we had no fear of you, life went on in Kingwood, Texas. I was living the best moments of my middle school chapter and was about to enter high school – experiencing the last moments where our actions did not reflect or determine our college decisions and future! It was my year to have irresponsible fun! 

My last middle school moments: putting lipstick on 8th grade boys for powder puff pep rallies, attending middle school dances, cheer bus rides singing to “Party in the USA,” etc. We pushed forward and continued to volunteer throughout my community until you took it all away from me. You stole the end of my 8th grade and freshman year. You scared us into quarantine and Zooms. You forced the school board to rush into an experimental electronic school system. You forced teachers to learn new systems and students to sit still through the trials. You stole everyone’s normal. 

You ultimately taught me to speak up when I needed help, to think outside the box, and to be patient while pushing through to overcome and succeed. So after all of the heartache, in the end thank you COVID for shaping me into the person I am today.

   Alani Martinez, 12


Sam Dellandre

You came and life as I knew it went. But I can thank you for allowing me to explore a passion I’ve always had but never explored. Over the last two years my skill and passion for food has doubled if not more. I’ve gone from being focused on creating tasty food to creating food that not only tastes good but looks like a piece of art with herbs meticulously placed and spices, sauces, and garnishes covering a plate or a bowl with vibrant colors and flavors. 

You also changed the way I view the world. I’m more cautious of people and my health. You instilled fear for my loved ones, many of whom were very susceptible to you. Overall, I’m grateful for the positive effects you’ve had on my life. But I also wish you never came because of the persistent anxiety and depression I felt during your attack on our world.

   Sam Dellandre, 9

Dear COVID, 

I understand the urgency for a quarantine but I did not appreciate it. As an 8th grader it was challenging to not be able to socialize with friends like usual.  Although I had a lot of spare time to start new hobbies and work as a nanny for a nurse who did not have childcare for her children, it was still a very boring part of my life and I would even go to calling it a waste of time. 

As students it is always hard for us to come back to school after summer break. Coming back after six months was extremely challenging. Not only did I have to come back from COVID and summer break, during the summer I moved to Texas from California. After that, coming  back to a new school was almost a culture shock for me and it was definitely not something I would want to relive.

Kaylie Smith, 11


Ty Bayley

The way that you single-handedly managed to stop billions of people’s lives at once is terrible. Because of you millions died, even more were infected and the world went into a frenzy. You’re the reason I didn’t get to leave middle school properly and spend my last moments with my favorite band director as I should have. And you’re also the reason why I didn’t get the chance to be able to enjoy and experience the fruitfulness of my first year of high school. 

Your appearance not only brought grief and turmoil, but it also created political and social unrest. Not to mention it brought violent acts of racism against innocent people of Asian ethnicities. Because of you, I was forced to stay inside for almost a full year with no escape. Being in my room all those days by myself felt like heaven at first; but it quickly turned into a hell of self-wallowing, binge eating and an extreme lack of motivation. 

However, I will say that your appearance also helped me to create. And it opened my eyes to the importance of human interaction and going outside every once in a while. After your reckoning I was taught about the importance of self-care and also the relationships between people. 

   Ty Bayley, 11


Ethan Durand

I do not appreciate what you have done to me and to everyone else in this world. For some people, you’ve ruined their lives. Kids who went through the 12 long and hard years of school couldn’t even have a proper graduation. Some people lost their jobs. I know some people who are going through the worst right now because of what you have caused to this entire world.

Statistics show that adolescent kids have been more depressed than they have ever been. Suicidal thoughts have skyrocketed for most teenagers and kids throughout these past years. Most kids have been left with mental scarring from everything that has happened and all the mask mandates. I also know some people whose social skills are just downright horrible because they haven’t been able to be around friends or family that much because of all this. 

I don’t know what you were thinking about coming into everyone’s lives and just ruining it, but I hope only the worst for you.

   Ethan Durand, 9

Dear COVID, 

What started off as a couple of fun weeks off of school spiraled into months of boredom. I played video games for hours and developed so many unhealthy sleeping habits. I did absolutely nothing productive, which was fun at first but slowly melted away into poor mental health. 

But the worst of it all was the destruction of my freshman year. Something I had looked forward to for so many years was distorted and crushed in the blink of an eye. So, thanks a lot COVID. Thanks for canceling all my plans and events. Thanks for making my freshman year a bust. Thanks for trapping us all in our homes. Thanks for sending the world into chaos. I know I, and everyone else, really appreciate it. 

   Sincerely,  Elaine Smith, 11


I hated you for all the change you caused. You made me move on from middle school when I was not ready to. I had to leave friends behind that I still haven’t spoken to; but, in the end, I didn’t have it all too bad.

You gave me the opportunity to grow. I got a fresh start, and I went into high school with an advantage having less kids around. It wasn’t easy, but you helped me break out of my shell.

During your stay, I got an internship at the Houston Zoo, which changed my life. I have discovered my passion and you allowed me to thrive. 

Not only did I thrive at the zoo, but in journalism as well. I learned the importance of expression and was able to showcase that to others through photos. I was given opportunities I wouldn’t have had without you. 

In the end you helped me find me. So, thanks, I guess.

   Maya Ortiz, 11

Dear COVID, 

You have changed me. I used to be so outgoing and loved talking to people. Now I hate being around people and talking to them. I now like to keep to myself. I have social anxiety and get nervous being in front of people. How am I supposed to get a job like this? What have you done to me, why did you make me like this? You have ruined my life and ruined my relationships. You have given me trust issues, a lot of my friendships were ruined by you. We had a toxic relationship. 

You have taught me valuable lessons that I will never forget. I am glad that you’re gone, and I never want to see you again. 

   Kaitlyn Neel, 12


Krisslyn Boyles

You have helped me realize what is important in life. You have given me the opportunity to be grateful. Because of you, I have grown closer with friends and family. I got to see people lose those they loved and realize I should be more grateful for the people that have been put in my life. I also got extra time to read books and do art from you. I go to the lake and wakeboard with my uncle’s boat or go down to the beach almost every weekend. I got to grow my relationship with my sister a lot before she went to college, which was important now looking back because I don’t get to see her as much because of how far away she is. I really understand not to take for granted the memories and the memories I can still make with those I love.

Krisslyn Boyles, 10


Luke Cavallo

   You taught me more than I could possibly have learned in the school – time that you caused my peers and I to miss. In a way, an unchanging routine and the assumption that the routine will continue in some form until the end of life masks the reality of existence. Nothing is assured, and everything can change in a moment. 

   During my newfound free hours, I realized that it is foolish to wait for things to happen and that if I desire to do something meaningful, I must make it happen myself. A world without school, without sports, without human contact would seem to be a world without responsibility. In reality, the personal freedom and isolation only intensifies personal responsibility. Lacking clearly defined structure, it was left to me to make the best of the altered circumstances. I learned new things. I read books, I played guitar, and I spent numerous hours practicing soccer. Although you took normalcy from the world, you replaced it with something novel and just as important.

   Luke Cavallo, 11

Dear COVID, 

The time I spent out of school was actually really needed. I was worn out; and when you shut everything down, as twisted as it sounds, I was happy. For once in my life I had no responsibilities, no schedule, and no worries. I had gone to school for 7 years with no breaks truly long enough to recharge. When you came, I got my break; and, I didn’t know it at the time, but now I’m truly thankful for that. 

But every rose has its thorns. Your thorn was when you actually got me sick. When I got sick you were still new so there was not much I could do but just live through it. Worst 3 weeks ever. You got me so sick I couldn’t stand without passing out, and all I ate was watermelon for 3 weeks because everything else made me puke. 

We have a real love-hate relationship, and all I have to say is thank you for not hurting my family and screw you for making me sick.

   Love, Danielle Haisten

Dear COVID, 

I hate you. You have changed my life and not in a good way. Thanks to you I’m scared to talk to people, thanks to you I can’t open up and thanks to you I now have to deal with anxiety for the rest of my life. 

I didn’t speak to people for months. I was taken away from my friends, my family, and my sport. I was shut out from everyone important to me and all my training went down to nothing. My anxiety was bad before but not being able to be exposed to people made it worse. You shut the whole world down, all of it. You separated friends and family, you separated me from my grandparents. You took away karate, you took away the sun, and you took away my life. 

But life is turning around now. You don’t get to control my life anymore, I’m working on my anxiety, I’m out in the sun again, I can travel, I can see my friends, and I’m back to doing karate. I went to Wales and I won. So as you can see I am moving on, you are in the past and the world is moving on from you. While you caused everyone so much pain and suffering it’s over. While we are still affected by what you have done we are getting stronger and we are working on a way to prevent you from ever happening again.

   Rachael Ortega

Dear COVID, 

You really suck. COVID made me lose all social connections and it caused my anxiety to be terrible when we came back to school.

I was having panic/anxiety attacks like 3 times a day. Unlike most families, mine didn’t bond throughout the lockdown. Instead we all stayed to ourselves in our own rooms. 

   Lorelai Smoot, 12


Brianna Buckley

Those years were some of the most eventful years of my life.There were negatives and positives of those 3 years. I have changed so much as a person.  I have not only matured but grown as a person. Most of those memories were great but some were terrible.  

An amazing memory from 2020 that I will never forget is when I went to the water park with my 3 best friends. All 4 of us went to Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures in New Caney. We went down every slide in the park, relaxed in the lazy river and went to the petting zoo. 

But I had some bad memories too. During 2020 my parents went through a horrible divorce. I changed so much from the divorce, mentally, physically and as a person as a whole. I know many people went through hard times during COVID and I did too.

   Sincerely, Brianna Buckley

Dear COVID, 

 You have made my life very miserable and made it to where I couldn’t go to school half of my middle school years. My first day back in person at school was my freshman year last year (2021-2022), and I hadn’t been to school since mid-7th grade. I missed out on so many middle school experiences that I wish I could’ve had. I was stuck in the house for a good year and a half before I could even go out. 

Being stuck in the house did indeed bring me and my family closer, but you can only be around the same person for so long. During quarantine, I would have to find out things to do because who just wants to sit around on their phone and be absolutely bored all day. When I heard on the news that the pandemic was over, I felt so relieved and especially since it’s almost been 3 years since the government shut everything down. 

I just want to say thank you for bringing me and my family closer together, but I hate you for taking away half of my middle school experiences!!

   Jesa Galloway


You took my first year of high school from me. It was my chance to shine my skills on the varsity softball team and you took that from me. You brought frights and disappointments. My dream to start on varsity my freshman year had come true, but it was taken in a heartbeat. Everyone says it’s challenging to start as a freshman and that it was impossible. I wanted to prove them wrong, I wanted to change that theory. 

One good thing you did was take textbooks and papers out of my bag and replaced them with masks and gloves to wear everywhere I went. You took people I loved and cared about. You took thousands of lives in a matter of a minute. The pain you caused families to go through was devastating. You took mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, grandparents. You even tried to take me, but I fought you too well.  I was stronger than you thought I was. You were the evil stepmother that ruined everyone’s days. 

   Adriana Gonzalez, 12


Jordan Hutchinson

You changed my life in ways that any other virus couldn’t have. The day we found out that we had an extended spring break, everyone was so happy and excited to get the feeling of summer coming early. 

My story with you is too long, but I just want to thank you for the most impactful thing you’ve done for me. At the beginning of your appearance, I got added to a group chat with some other kids from my grade that I knew, but didn’t really talk to. Little did I know, those kids were going to go from random kids to family. We all instantly clicked and hung out everyday even though we were supposed to be in quarantine. Since we were in quarantine, a lot of places were closed, so we were always hanging out outside at gas stations, high school football fields, and parks in our neighborhoods. As you started to go away, we still stayed close; and, for about three years, now we are still close. We have just lost some of our people on the way. I will never forget the amazing times you provided for me. 

   Jordan Hutchinson

Dear COVID, 

I do not like you. Not only did I not get to see my friends as much, I also contracted you and your cousin twice, on Christmas break! You and Omicron need to pack your things and leave. You have gotten so many people sick and even took a few dear friends to my family and friend’s family. 

Life was hard for everyone when you sent us into lockdown. But also a lot of people found their better self, some people went to the gym, some people took on new hobbies that may have ended up being a new career. But even though there are some good things you have caused, no one will forget the bad things. I’m grateful for some of the things that happened but still I will never forgive you. 

   Grace Lively, 9 

Dear COVID, 

There is so much to say to you, but also not as much as I needed to before. I’ve said you’ve ruined my life, but you didn’t. If it weren’t for you I would’ve be here today.

Myriam Molina

Three years ago, I would have never imagined being in the spot I am today. Three years ago, I would have never thought that I would be writing this essay. Three years ago, I was sitting at my 6th grade math table with my best friend trying to solve an equation. That is when we got an announcement over the loud speakers saying we will not be in school for the next two weeks. I was awakened and filled with delight. Even knowing there were two known COVID cases in the hospital down the street from us, I was still very excited. 

Advancing to the second week of no school, we got the confirmation that we would finish off the school year virtually. This is the time I started to get uneasy with everything, especially myself. As the school year finished off our governor, Phil Murphy (NJ), said our following school year would also be virtual. I started to not eat and got more and more anxious everyday. Worried I might get COVID and die, I would lock myself in my bedroom that I shared with my two younger sisters. Every time my dad got home from work, I would be too edgy and tense to say “hi” and give him a hug. My mother also worked from home as she was a teacher at that time. 

I was ready to go back to school toward the end of the seventh grade school year, but it never reopened. However, I was back to playing sports – with masks on, of course.  

Over the course of the summer, I found out I was moving to Texas. Yes! The great state of Texas. I was overwhelmed yet joyful, leaving all my friends behind but ready for a new start. In the beginning of August we left my small three-bedroom apartment and took a ride for Texas. It took us about 2-3 days to get here from New Jersey. From then on, my life changed. Everything here is much better for me. We still take trips to New Jersey for friend and family visits. I am happy here and appreciative of all the opportunities I have gained. 

So thank you, COVID. Thank you for the life you have given me. I would never want to relive those two years in my bedroom not eating, but I am definitely grateful for it. Dear COVID, what a heck of three years! 

   Myriam Molina, 9


Alice Allison

You would’ve been better if you didn’t make people sick or kill anybody. I would prefer if we had a random one-and-a-half-year break from in-person school for no reason; but you just had to be a virus, killing 6,798,868 people and infecting millions. Dealing with COVID was very inconvenient. I didn’t have the crazy symptoms that would land me in a hospital bed, so I was stuck at home either video-calling friends while they ate lunch at school or watching my science teacher struggle to make tutorials on their tablet. Looking back at it now, watching my science teacher try to explain how motion worked while unknowingly being on mute was weirdly endearing. 

Behind the screen was a world where the people I loved could suddenly die from a virus the world knew nothing about at the time, but watching my teachers try to make tutorials, seeing my classmates sleeping when they forgot to turn the camera off, and constantly hearing students say “I can’t turn on my camera because it’s broken,” took my mind off of the tragedy going on around me. Even though everything regarding school was messed up, I can’t help but miss the feeling of being a part of an audience watching everyone try to do their best, comedic or not.

Alice Allison

 Dear COVID,

Dannika Melendez Mateo

Why did you take so many people with you? I’m talking about canceled birthdays, vacations, innocent beings and animals. You closed everything so fast you caused panic, and we did not know what to do. Wearing masks to school was the new normal, Germ X bottles everywhere, Lysol spray not too far. Don’t touch your face, wash your hands. The way you kept variating and variating never to see an end. 

You were so close but yet far, yet close enough to strike me and my family. Left with no taste, no energy, muscle pains, fever etc. Will there ever be a normal day again? Will I ever get to celebrate any holidays with my family? These are  questions you had many people ponder. Although your stay was cut to end as vaccine rates started to rise, the people you took with you sorrowed behind us. I hope that you never come back and stay in the past as if you never happened. I dream of the day I will never have to talk about you again.

   Dannika Melendez Mateo


Peytan Owens

You made me into something I never wished to be but yet someone my inner child would feel safe with. You gave me so much character development, yet so little mercy and peace. You ruined yet fixed my life. 

If you never happened, I don’t know who I’d be today. You brought me and friends closer, yet pushed me and some friends away. You showed me the true colors of people in the time of desperation and fear, yet brought out the best but worse of me. I thank you, but also despise you. You ruined many lives, but helped many others. You ruined the world, as well as healed some parts of the world. You drained yet gave strength to many people, including myself. 

   Peytan Owens


Hailey Wilson

In March 2020 I wasn’t sure if I should be happy that I had 2 weeks off of school or worry because the world was about to go into a pandemic. I was in 6th grade and all I could remember was walking into school hearing all the kids around me talk about a disease called COVID. I was excited that I didn’t have school for 2 weeks, but as time went on I realized that COVID took away so much of my life just to be locked up in my house praying I didn’t catch it.  I never want to experience walking into a store being afraid to even walk past someone or to always be told “stay 6 feet away.”  

In 7th grade my parents put me in online school; and at the time I had no friends, nobody to talk to, and I was confused since I was never an online student. I was separated from my family and friends for months, and the joy I felt when I was able to hug them again was unexplainable. 

I started my 8th grade year and my parents decided to let me join school, and I finally was able to gain my friends back and got to do what I loved. I am finally in my freshman year of high school on an amazing dance team with so many friends 3 years later.  I never thought after a deadly disease I would be where I am now.  I am so much happier and thankful that everything that my family and I went through, we are all still here and healthy.  Even though COVID was a really bad time in my life it taught me lots of life lessons that I will forever stick with.

   Hailey Wilson

Dear COVID, 

When I first realized that I would be having a two week break from school in early 2020, I was ecstatic. At that time in my life, I was having a hard time with getting along with other students in my school, to the point where I was uncomfortable even going on campus. In all honesty, you helped me become who I am today. I think before COVID I was blinded by what society’s expectations had in store for me.  I just wanted to become the person that everyone would like me to be. So when I had to be at home, with not a lot of friends to stay in touch with, I was forced to spend time with myself. 

Over that time, I got to know a new person within me. I learned that I loved floral dresses, I learned that I love cooking for my family, I learned to love the simple things in my life. I learned to see the bigger picture of things and that I shouldn’t base my entire life on the expectations of others that don’t appreciate me for me. 

Even though I had some rough patches in quarantine, I don’t think I would ever be who I am without you. So even though you did cause a lot of struggle for many and I don’t really want to see another pandemic, you did make my life change for the better. 

   Sincerely, Krista Edwards


You have made me feel so helpless for 3 years. Ever since you came, my stress and unproductiveness have been at an all time high. I became such a perfectionist that I can’t function unless something is without flaw. With your arrival, you only brought pain and suffering for my family. For 3 years, I have been stuck in a cycle of anger and sadness. You’ve brought some of the worst times of my life. 

But you brought a tiny shimmer of light. That shimmer became a ray of sunshine, and that ray became people who light up my world. I never would have met the people I know now without you. I wouldn’t be here at Kingwood Park High School without you. I wouldn’t have had all these opportunities without you. So, I hate you. I hate you for many things, including me having to miss some of the most important years of my life. I hate you for being in the way of life altering events. But also thank you. Thank you for allowing me to meet my best friends. Thank you for getting me to the best high school I know. 

   Regards, Emerson Harris


Katie Tims

I remember in 6th grade a few other kids and I were sitting together. “Why doesn’t someone just take one for the team and get that new virus so we don’t have to be in school?” Three days later we left for spring break and never came back.

I remember how excited I was to sit at home and do nothing. It was great for the first month or two. Then after I hadn’t talked to anyone in four months, I started to feel so lonely. It completely derailed my life, and I had to deal with new things I’d never experienced like social anxiety and feeling isolated from the world. On top of that, I struggled with the pressure to make A’s when even getting out of bed felt so difficult most days. 

Sometimes I still deal with those feelings. But I like to think about all the amazing things that happened too. I learned how to deal with the anxiety of life, got out of bad relationships with people. And I met people I never would have known if it hadn’t been for COVID. And even though it may have totally sucked, I’m so grateful for the opportunities it gave me.

Katie Tims, 9


It’s been a rough few years, with the stress over whether my brother or mom would get you, with them being at risk with lung issues or low immune systems. You caused my anxiety to spike and my flight or fight to activate over more mundane things.

You did bring me the space and time to think. I was left alone with my brain; and while that was stressful, you made me realize a lot about my own identity and beliefs. It may have taken me twice as long to come out to myself and others if it wasn’t for the time you provided.

You also pushed me back into reading, and for that I am grateful as I love reading and it brings me peace. Being able to immerse myself into other worlds and live different lives through others’ stories is something that I used to take for granted and push off even though I enjoyed it. 

You helped me realize the importance of putting what I love and need first, even when the world is trying to keep me busy and stressed. So while I hate all the stress and grief you caused the world and myself, I am thankful for the time you gave me to think.

   Fallon Head, 10


Look I haven’t seen you in about 5 months and no offense I would like to keep it that way. Maybe it’s the way your mood affects everyone around you. Maybe you should be more social for once, because whenever you’d hang out with me I couldn’t leave my house for two weeks. On top of that when I was out in public I had to stay six feet away from other people. I know some introverted people, but you definitely put a whole new meaning to that word.

The first time I was with you, you took away my smell towards vegetables; and, you know, it was fine at first but then the second time we hung out I couldn’t smell popcorn! Movie theaters will never be the same because of you. On top of that, you know that mask you want everyone to wear when you’re around them?  Well, I mean I know you prefer it that way, but having people constantly asking me to speak up has really gotten on my nerves. 

I’m sorry this seems a bit harsh but the popcorn thing you pulled drew a line. Take care of yourself and please stop stealing all of the toilet paper. 

   Bailey Eitreim, 10


I remember in the 8th grade hearing about a virus in China. I thought that it would never come to the U.S. Three weeks later we were celebrating our extended spring break not knowing how long it would last. We played Minecraft and barely glanced at school work. I was unconcerned – until I was – knowing you could take out 2 of my immediate family in one swoop. I wore my masks religiously making whatever face I wanted because no one could see. I didn’t get to go to the rodeo, and I didnt get my last play in 8th grade. 

Even with  me giving up these things to avoid you, my family got it. Somehow my sister and 2 brothers didn’t. We locked them in a separate part of the house so they wouldn’t get sick. My mom who has a compromised immune system was not so lucky. She was bedridden for weeks. Close to being hospitalized. Still she got up and made herself move everyday. She sat in a chair in the corner so we could watch movies together and did zoom meetings so she could still provide for us. She didn’t let you have her. Still there are side effects. My brother can’t smell, my mom still has brain fog, and I test for any symptom COVID. I wore masks for a year past when they were not mandated. I wore a mask to protect my family and it worked.

   Sayonara,  Exa Nix


It was fun for a while. A week off from school, it was the dream. Then one week became two, and soon those weeks became months and the school year was over. I was all alone. No one to see, nothing to do. You made it your mission to hurt as many people as possible. 

Luckily you didn’t get to me, I can’t say the same about others. You may not have hurt me physically, but my mental health has suffered from your actions. Being alone with no social interactions didn’t help my already anxious mind. You took my friends away, shut them out of my life for months while you ran rampant down the streets taking anyone you could find. You scared many into hiding. Some tried to go outside, thinking you wouldn’t hurt them; they quickly realized that was a remarkably wrong decision. 

Dear COVID, you’ve already taken so much from me and so many others, but I will not let you take any more.

   Sincerely, Kaitlyn Sitton


You turned life upside down. You caused chaos and worry, and spread fear throughout the world and the nation.

But for me, you stopped my childhood. You put my life on hold. I wasn’t able to enjoy the last year before becoming a teenager. I couldn’t do the things I loved anymore. When we finally returned to school, it was altered. Restrictions put in place didn’t allow us to live life to the fullest. 

When we finally returned to some form of normalcy, middle school was over. A chapter of life closed and done. I started high school a different person. I joined new activities and grew in my old ones. I made new friends and created new memories. I chose to leave you behind, along with the person I was in middle school. I changed my look and my priorities. You changed me for the better, but at what cost? 

The radical difference you instilled was too much, too fast. I don’t affiliate myself with who I was when you were there. Quarantine, masks, vaccines, and isolation. It may have made the person standing here today, but she would have existed without you. I could’ve grown on my own without you taking me away from my life. I could have had the chance to make the most of a critical part of my childhood, instead of spending it with you. The more time that separates me and you, COVID, the better.  

   Shelby Townsend, 10


I think you really showed me how important personal physical connections are. You mentally ruined my life. I had to learn how to cope with school and personal stresses on my own. School was very mentally draining, trying to understand assignments on my own and cope without seeing any of my friends. I have never been the same. I’ve had to rely on technology so much, which led to self judgment and criticism. I wanted to be my own person, especially since there were so many social pressures. The world grew centered around online interactions, rather than physical ones, which has significantly impacted society today. Teens were so glued to their phones, they forgot how to interact in person. Being in isolation hurt my ability to fully communicate with others and put a dent in my happiness. 

Yet, you were also able to bring me closer to my family. I literally did everything with them and they became my go-to when I was struggling. Coming out of these past few years, I am so proud of who I am now. I have so much more appreciation for my friends and family. I am so grateful for the small things now and am more aware of social media’s influence in my life. You have taught me so many lessons. I have a love-hate relationship with you. In the end, I appreciate everything you’ve taught me.

   Allie Jorgensen

Dear COVID, 

Thank you for the time you gave me. Thank you for the days I spent confined but never alone. Thank you for the days I spent walking in the sun. Thank you for making me treasure every little thing. If it wasn’t for you, life would look different — much for the better and some for the worse.

However, I try to choose positivity now and that is what I will be focusing on. You made me strong, on the days I had to be alone. You made me learn how to communicate, when there was no other option. COVID you rocked our world, but in some ways I thank you for it. I thank you for paving the path to the road that shaped me. I thank you for making me learn how to be independent and rely on my own strength. Most of all though, COVID thank you for teaching me the importance of community. 

   Cadence Whiteside


You provided me with lots of bonding time with my family. I was also alone a lot. Being home was actually kind of nice for a while until I fully realized I couldn’t hang out with anyone. It was weird to be an extroverted person trapped at home. I like to stay busy, and you did not provide me with business. I did a lot of sitting around thanks to you. Also you ruined my freshman year. 

I don’t mean to have hard feelings, but high school was supposed to be a fresh start. I was meant to make lots of new friends and have an outstanding social life. Neither of those things happened thanks to social distancing and lunch seating rules. COVID, do you have no sympathy for society? I got so sick of you, ironically enough given that you’re a virus. 

Why did you have to be so contagious? 

   Cara Helton


Cece Gonzalez

They expect us to forget you and move on with our lives. This generation will not forget what you did to us, who and what you took from us. We are the ones who lost our high school years and plans due to quarantine and cancellations. My sophomore year was stolen from me, but I stayed healthy. Then, the month I came back to school, I had COVID. And when I became a person with that history, as many of us have in this unique generation, it never left me. 

You divided a nation, between those who cared and didn’t. Political affiliation was determined by a simple mask. And nobody wears masks anymore, while you still take lives daily. Many still live with your threat, with immunocompromised family members, long COVID, and remembrance of those lost. But the population at large has forgotten. 

I have not. 

   With Disdain, Cece Gonzalez


Senior Camille Blair signed to play golf at Anderson University next year. (Bailey Hall)

Why couldn’t you have come at a more convenient time? I was literally in Houston with my lamb and had to shove everything that we needed to do for the course of 2 days into one. 

The rest of the semester was pretty easy because there was nothing to do, but my sophomore year was a mess. I can’t do online school, and the whole “I didn’t have enough time” excuse was getting really old. I practically did nothing and learned nothing the whole time. I had 70’s on my report card which is terrible for someone who has the standard of 85 or better. I only did online because I was getting busy with livestock shows, and that’s when my grade tanked. I could’ve gone back in person, but I was too afraid to see my teachers to do that. 

Although it was the worst year of my life, the best part was not having to do finals. I don’t see how they even benefit you because having them replace the lowest test grade does more in my opinion. But after that year I bounced back well my junior year and got the highest GPA I ever had. 

All in all I didn’t have a good experience which is primarily because I have high standards for myself and none of them got met that year, but there were some perks that I miss now. 

   Camille Blair, 12


When you first came, I thought you wouldn’t stay for long. It was a nice break from the rest of the world. But if I’m honest, it didn’t feel real.  I expected to wake up one day and everything was like it was before you. But that never happened. Weeks turned into months and months turned into a whole year. After the first year I felt normal the way everything was. I couldn’t remember what it was like before you, and that terrified me. How could something that felt so normal only a year ago feel so foreign now? 

Now that things are pretty normal, you haven’t just taken a seat in the back row of life. I think that’s how it’s always going to be for the rest of my life, although I have this fear now. People who were happy months before lost everything and the worst part is somedays I find myself missing when you were around. I miss how you let me be me and not have to hide away from people, thanks.

   Sincerely, Bailey Hall, 11 


You taught me not to take advantage of the little things that I have. You taught me to not take advantage of the simple things. You made me stronger and taught not just me but the world a lesson on gratitude and togetherness. 

Although you did teach us a few  lessons, you damaged a lot of people’s health, families and friends. Because of you I haven’t seen my grandfather in 3 years. Because of you we had to sing happy birthday to my brother in different rooms. Because of you many people became lost, alone and desperate for normalcy. 

Because of you, so many things changed. For some good, but for most bad. While we are still trying to put the pieces back together and heal, you still lurk and seek to destroy. At first you scared me, but now I will not allow you to take over my life like you have before. 

   Derriq Young, 12

Dear COVID, 

I first heard about COVID in December of 2019. My friend had said there’s this new disease that’s just like having a fever that can actually kill you. I did not believe her at all. I told her that there’s no way it’s real. I mostly only said that because I really didn’t want it to be real. And what went from a 2 week spring break to having the rest of the school year was a drastic change.

The next thing I knew, my Grandpa was stocking up on canned food and toilet paper. The rules of the house were that we can only have so much food a day because all the food in the stores was gone. I don’t exactly remember how long it was until my grandparents and dad went to work, but I remember always being stuck at home with my siblings and mom. Before the pandemic I could not stand them so imagine being stuck with them for months on end without even leaving the house. By the time it was over my relationship with them definitely changed.

There were good things that came out of the pandemic. I developed a better movie and music taste. With all of that free time I had, I would watch movies and listen to music.

Sometimes I do miss staying home because going to school everyday is hard. Coming back was a tough choice, but I don’t regret it.

Evelyn Vela West

Dear COVID, 

Thanks for getting me out of school for awhile, thanks for letting me have time to go out and make myself a shelter out in the woods and stay there for awhile. Thanks for letting me wipe out a whole population of ten pound bullfrogs that took over my pond. Thanks for letting me get my own chickens and never having to worry about if we’ll have enough eggs and getting to the point that I was selling them to 2 whole towns. 

Thanks for all the memories I’ll have and will get to tell my kids about the time I shot and killed five coyotes that were trying to kill our cows. And how when everybody was afraid to go outside I was just running down the roads through Mabank And Eustace because I just wanted to run. When I started making candles because I thought that was the next big thing for me, then I started taking care of bees so I could use the wax for my candles and use the honey for my allergies. Then we got goats so I was milking them and selling the milk. 

We had a good thing going but all good things must come to an end whether you’re ready or not. So no thank you for putting my uncle in the hospital and almost killing him, no thank you for keeping me from my friends, no thank you for getting me sick and me losing all the running progress I had made because I had some “crystals” in my lungs from you. We had a good thing going…we did. 

    Trenten Estes

Dear COVID, 

I don’t know if I would want to thank you or hate you for it. During the new year of 2020 I was super excited for my Washington D.C. trip and excited to go into high school. Going into spring break I knew I had my trip and I was so excited just to go to Washington D.C. When we got to D.C. that’s when we got the news that some of our sites were off the list to see due to COVID. Then a few days later we were informed that we got another week off of school. I was so excited I could hardly believe it. That Friday coming back home the next day they had started canceling flights due to COVID. I lost and I gained friends along the 6 months of spring/summer break.  I believe the break was bad yet good, but I never wanna go through it again.   

Bailey Kee


I think it’s safe to say that you ruined my life. You ruined my life, my father’s life, my mother’s life, every life you touched, you absolutely destroyed. I haven’t been the same, the constant isolation was so difficult on my mind. 

But as much as I can absolutely rag on you, it was during that time that I really recognized myself. I was given a sense of clarity, and for the first time I decided to not be ignorant to these problems. No one else would fix them, so I decided to not waste my time waiting for someone else. I got down and dirty fixing myself, I didn’t want to be someone who got stepped on. I didn’t want to rely on others. I wanted to be my own person. 

After three years I’m proud of myself, and I’m so incredibly happy. I have way more friends than I thought I would have. My relationship with my sister has gotten stronger and my life is full of these incredible people who I am so grateful for. So I guess you haven’t exactly ruined my life, but I’m still a little sour. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t reared your ugly little head.

I still hate you, Morgen Dozier


Matthew Borch

Because of you, I care more. I am thankful for all the things life has given me. You showed I can’t take things for granted. COVID, you changed the way everyone else and me thought about the world. You brought social implications and heartache. I would never want you to happen again, but you changed my life in a significant way, and I can’t change that. Instead, I appreciate every day that passes, every memory I can make. I value my relationships and the opportunity to live my life, not just survive it. I cherish every moment I have now, and it’s because you happened, COVID.

Stephen Borch, 10