Sidwell Students Reflect on End of School Year


As represented by the setting sun, the school year is coming to a close and faculty are leaving. Graphic: Quinn Patwardhan ’24.

As the school year comes to a close, students take time to reflect. After having experienced almost a full year of virtual learning due to the pandemic, it was a relief for many to return to traditional in-person classes. Eight months later, the student body is still appreciative of the shift to in-person and the ways in which it has allowed for personal and communal growth.

Due to her increased workload, freshman Mira Flood commented that the transition to Sidwell “was slightly jarring” for her as both a freshman and a new student.

Flood’s initial feelings are well-founded. Sidwell’s classes are difficult and require time and effort from students. However, Flood felt that this school year was not as challenging as she originally anticipated.

“I personally didn’t struggle too much,” Flood said. “I think my teachers were always really understanding. [The workload was] manageable if you had good communication skills or good time management.”

Time management is an important skill that Sidwell students have also honed this year. Sophomore William Friedman is one Sidwell student who has learned to manage his time better this school year.

According to Friedman, “it’s way easier to be productive, to learn and maintain grades when I’m in person … I definitely prefer my daily academic schedule this year.”Sophomore Nnamdi Nwosu agreed. “This year definitely has been a lot better for me overall,” Nwosu said. “I prefer to be in a classroom environment, and … my grades have really reflected that.”

Sophomore Amelia Petty further stressed the importance of connecting with teachers, which she expressed was easier due to in-person learning. This year, Petty has learned that teachers are there to help their students, and that communicating clearly with teachers may help a student succeed academically.  

Beyond academics, students also reflected on how the year affected them socially. Overall, the change from virtual to in-person learning benefited students’ social lives enormously, allowing them to gather more frequently in larger groups.

Friedman commented that this school year rendered a more normal high school experience.

Without plexiglass dividers and double masking measures, Friedman “was able to get to know a lot more people, especially people [who] just joined Sidwell.”

A return to in-person school also allowed students to participate in school-wide events, such as various fundraisers and Homecoming, as well as extracurricular activities and sports. Friedman was particularly grateful to be able to play on the varsity baseball team this year. “[There have] been … a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but it’s been a really enjoyable season,” he said.

I’ve seen that almost everyone at Sidwell has really good intentions and kind hearts. This year as a whole was really positive!

— Mira Flood '25

Friedman was also happy to witness the successes of other Sidwell teams. He was proud of the accomplishments of the Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity Basketball teams, both of which won DCSAA state titles earlier this year.

Many students felt that the hybrid portion of the year made it difficult to socialize and create an interconnected community. Sophomore Finn Peters experienced similar sentiments, saying that everything last year felt “distanced” to him. Hybrid learning was “inorganic,” he explained, because it was so unlike traditional school.

Although he was worried that this year would be similar, Peters believes that “it truly has started to feel normal again.”

Another anonymous student had similar concerns for this year. “I was having a hard time socially … I was so stressed over the work that I was spending all my free periods and breaks in the library doing homework,” they said.

Their desire to succeed academically had prevented them from using their free time to meet new people and socialize.

Now, however, the student is able to balance their academic and social lives. “All my breaks and most of my 25-minute free periods, I take to hang out with friends, and it’s going much better,” they said.

Like this student, Peters has expanded his friend group this year.

“I felt like I was able to get to know a lot of the new people,” Peters said. One of Peters’s closest friends, sophomore Jimmy Chen, started at Sidwell Friends last year. “He didn’t really know that many people at Sidwell … until about January.” According to Peters, “he’s now one of my closest friends.”

Peters was also exposed to new teachers this school year, including Upper School English Teacher Manny Jacquez and Upper School Spanish Teacher Savant Shrestha. He has enjoyed his time in both of their classes.

Socially, Flood and Petty also felt that this year was successful. According to Flood, “it was a pretty positive experience.”

Petty, noticing a strong sense of community at Sidwell. “It feels more like a connected school,” she said.

Although this was her first year at Sidwell, Flood agreed saying, “I’ve seen that almost everyone at Sidwell has really good intentions and kind hearts … this year as a whole was really positive.”