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Your source for CHS news


Students, teachers speak on feelings of nostalgia after year of non-traditional school

Hybrid scheduling challenged senior Anna Pescio’s expectations for her senior year. Although she said she was disappointed not to be able to go to prom with her junior friends, she found solace in looking back at her previous high school experiences.

That feeling, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), is a social emotion called nostalgia. In the APA podcast “Speaking of Psychology,” Krystine Batcho, professor of psychology at LeMoyne College, said nostalgia is a personal emotion that unites a person’s identity as they change over time. Batcho said nostalgia reminds a person of who they used to be so they can remain true to their roots in the present.

According to Batcho, people fall back on past events and items as a way to comfort and stabilize themselves in a time of unprecedented change. She said people most commonly use nostalgia to remind themselves of good times and that this has happened a lot during the quarantine period.

Pescio said she too found comfort in participating in activities that brought her a sense of nostalgia.

“I have found that going back to TV shows that are childhood favorites has been really enjoyable, especially with some streaming services like Netflix bringing back older shows,” she said. “I did find myself not long ago wanting to go back to listen to some old music that I listened to when I was a kid.”

Pescio is not the only person to have looked at the past fondly during the pandemic. Jim Peterson, co-director of theater and film, said he was nostalgic for the way this school celebrated certain events before the school grew exponentially.

For example, Peterson, who has been a teacher at this school since 1992, said he misses the way this school used to celebrate Homecoming. In the past, Peterson said, Homecoming started with a parade in the area surrounding College Wood Elementary that would travel down Main Street, then lead back to the school.

Jim Peterson (farthest back), co-director of theater and film who has worked at CHS since 1992, poses with the Rising Stars club before the Homecoming parade in 2007. “(The Homecoming parade) was a really special time,” he said.

“It was really fun and it was a full-day thing, and a lot of people got involved, and now (this school) is so big that I don’t think we could do it. I really do miss it, it was a really special time,” Peterson said.

Peterson also said this pandemic has brought forth memories from his past 29 years here, including senior pranks and past productions of which he was a part. One memory he said comes to mind was his visit to the set of the show “NCIS.”

“I know it was only just a couple of years ago, but, it was actually the best field trip I’ve ever taken,” he said.

Retired biology teacher Kathy Hallett said the pandemic has also brought forth a sense of nostalgia for her. Though she is now retired, she said she has fond memories of teaching freshmen biology every day. She said she felt nostalgic for teaching in person and being able to be a part of students’ projects such as the Genetic Counseling project with the honors Biology I class.

Younger students have feelings of nostalgia as well. For his part, freshman Rishab Anand said the pandemic has led him to look at his middle school experiences differently.

“When I was in middle school I just wanted to go to high school. I heard a lot of good things about it. Now that I am in high school under these circumstances, I just want to go back to middle school. I just wish I had not rushed through it,” he said.
Anand said he found his eighth grade tennis season more enjoyable than his ninth grade season and has good memories of that time.

“I remember traveling in the team bus, interacting with my teammates during practices and matches and (I) just overall enjoyed playing tennis,” Anand said. “The middle school team really felt like a family and it was unfortunate that the pandemic made it difficult for me to bond with (my teammates) this year.”

Pescio said she believes this surge of nostalgia comes from the longing for stability during the pandemic.

“I think because in the midst of a lot of things changing, it’s something familiar to fall back on and something that I just have known before,” she said. “I am just wanting something that is consistent and something that is steady.

Jim Peterson, co-director of theater and film, shares a collection of photos make him nostalgic. Peterson has taught at CHS since 1992. He said he misses some traditions, and was especially disappointed not to be able to put on the Fall production of “Puffs” he had planned for. (Submitted Photo: Jim Peterson)

Pescio said she has tried to look at events as positively as possible.

“When I knew that (some events) were not happening, I had some moments of disappointment and sadness about it,” she said.

“I’ve done my best to look at it as just enjoying what we are going to be doing in the future and enjoying what I do have right now,” she said. “I want to have a fun senior year and I’m not going to enjoy it if I’m constantly thinking all of the things I can’t do instead of looking at all the opportunities I do get.”

Hallett said she agreed. She said, “I could not go to visit my mother due to the pandemic, and as one of my brothers is in Texas, we only used to meet once or twice during the year. But because of Zoom we can talk more frequently and for longer, and it is something that we will keep doing,”

Pescio said it is good to look back and remember. “We get consumed by our thoughts of the past (and) when we are no longer enjoying life and what we are living in that is when it can start to become unhealthy,” she said. “I think it is good to remember what we have done in the past, learn from past mistakes, and think fondly about the past, I just don’t want this to be something where we look back at this time in the future and see that all that we were doing at this time was looking back and wishing we were not in a pandemic.”

Archit Kalra
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