by: Mr. Martin, Journalism Teacher
When Wethersfield High School closed its doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students thought all learning was lost. However, the real learning had just begun.
On March 13, our last day of physical classes at WHS, I had a long talk with my period two class. That discussion, wide-ranging and free-flowing, all followed this central pillar: That this experience could be a learning experience within itself. The articles you are about to read are borne from that idea.
The thought was simple enough: Find some way over the next 30 days to make yourself better. This could be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual; as long as it is outside of your comfort zone and something you could have never done in our "regular" school setting.
My students took to this like a duck to water, and proved to me that just because the school building is closed, learning does not have to end.
In fact, learning extends far beyond the classroom, and students can use the skills they have learned and developed over time (research, experimentation, and especially resilience) to forge their own learning forward. In a way, it was the purest version of learning: unadulterated and driven by the student.
Below you will read their initial stories, which I hope you take the time to read and make comments on. Stay tuned for further articles, videos, and podcasts, as this will all sum up in a final long-form article in the coming weeks.
by: Gabriella Ammodio
Last week, I set out on a mission to read everyday, hoping it would improve my mental abilities.
When I was younger, I actually enjoyed reading. As time went on, I became less and less interested and the girl that used to read in her free time wouldn’t even read books for class. I chose to get back into reading for those reasons and to help reduce stress.
So far, I surprisingly haven’t had many difficulties with it. I’ve been able to read every day while also increasing my time reading.
I think this is partly because I’ve developed a routine. I tend to do my reading right before I go to bed, it’s a good way to wind down after a long day and finish off the night.
To start things off, I chose to read a book that I bought at a book fair in elementary school. I figured it would be good to ease into things and start with an easy read. It’s called P.S. I Like You and tells the story of two high school students that fall in love through notes they write to each other in chemistry class.
I just recently finished that book and am onto my next book titled The Other Wes Moore.
The hardest part so far has been transitioning between books. When I was in the middle of my first book, I found it easy to start reading because it felt like I had something to return to. Starting a new book was tough because I didn't have any connection to it. I ended up skipping a day after I finished the first book and before I moved on to the second.
After finishing my first book, I can’t really say that my views on the world have necessarily changed, but I do find myself looking forward to reading and getting lost in a different world. I’m hoping that The Other Wes Moore will help me to start seeing a difference. This book has much more depth than the first book and discusses real-world issues.
by: Bella Samse
My article will be me vlogging all of the workouts and exercises I am doing. From ab workouts to simply going on a night walk with mom, I will be doing something to stay in shape.
As we know, the Coronavirus has taken over and taken away so many important things from me, namely the fun class trip, prom, and most likely graduation, but it also took away sports.
Growing up in sports has been such a huge influence on who I am today. The fact I played my last high school basketball game without knowing, with my team in the locker room for the last time without knowing, had my last pasta dinner without knowing, it is all so much to process. I still think that after this is all over I will be getting on a bus to play that quarter final state tournament game.
I chose to do a vlog so I can see my face and see if I am enjoying it. I really hope that after this experience is done, I can go back and say I made the best of quarantine. I want to stay active, in shape, motivated, like I was in basketball. That was when I was happiest, on the court with a ball in my hand.
I hope that as the days drag on, I can find the determination I had on the court, get these hard workouts done, and feel accomplished after doing it. I want to go on walks and feel the simplest bliss I did back when I was just waiting for the bus with my team. I miss it all so much and it will never come back.
I hope that as my journey continues I accomplish my goal because I never made it to Mohegan, I want to find my run to the sun.
By: Luciano Quagliaroli
I've decided to learn how to play the Ukulele over this period of online schooling. I've had the instrument for years but I've never picked it up and really dived into it. I was able to finally do this because of all the free time I have on my hands. My goal is to be fluent in the majority of the chords and be able to play five songs very well.
I chose learning Ukulele because over the last couple months I´ve realized that music is the most important thing to me. I appreciate it tremendously and I have no outlet to express my creativity or love for it. Learning the Ukulele has given me some sort of connection to the musical world besides just listening to it. My plan is to switch to guitar when I feel confident on Ukulele.
My experience thus far has been such a blast. The first time I sat down with it, it was intimidating. But I was patient and stuck with it and I learned my first song, Let My Baby Stay by Mac Demarco. After that learning more chords and songs was just a matter of taking the time to do it and it came a lot easier to me. It is so much fun and I have moments when I play where I feel very at peace with myself. I hope to master the five songs I know by next week.
By Antonia Vardal
Let’s be honest: the idea of being quarantined in the house for weeks on end with nothing but our families and an almost nonexistent hope of the world ever returning back to normal is a hard pill to swallow. The state of our nation right now is bleak at best, and this leaves everyone, especially those with existing mental health difficulties, finding it hard to cope with daily life.
When my journalism teacher instructed us to make the best of this situation by committing to a self-improvement project, a light bulb went off in my head.
Why not focus on mental health?
I’m experiencing firsthand the blows of anxiety and depression, and it’s no secret the global pandemic has caused it to flare up once again. So, with this in mind, I decided I would create my own 30 day mental health improvement challenge designed to ease my mind and overall make me a happier person.
I began by searching 30 day mental health challenges on the internet and gathering the ideas that I liked, and added some of my own to create a list that was unique to me.
I’m about halfway done, and so far I’ve learned a little more about myself in doing these activities. I’ve journaled about my feelings, treated myself to Taco Bell, and created an uplifting music playlist (pictured with this article). I have also acknowledged that skipping two activities because I don’t feel like doing them isn’t the best way to handle things, but that’s part of the process.
I now know that coloring isn’t really my thing and neither is yoga. Everyone has different coping mechanisms and what works for one person may not work for another.
As I dive into the second half of this challenge, I hope to discover further what helps me feel better and what doesn’t really work for me. Ultimately, it’s up to me to decide how to make the best of this quarantine. Though mental health is a challenge to me, it’s one I am willing to take on.
By: Kadin Joyce
For my quarantine project, I decided to put together a video journal documenting the process of a production and the new ideas I had while working on the Class of 2020 Senior Video. Over the summer when I was thinking of projects for my independent study, I came up with the idea to make a video dedicated to our senior year. I wanted to create something digital that the Class of 2020 can relate to, connect to, and look back on in the future.
I chose to vlog the process because for future projects I want to be able to see the way I work and as I learn more about production, improve my creative process.
Since quarantine, I’ve had a hard time staying motivated to work on this project because the biggest parts of senior year have been taken away from us, it felt like there was no purpose to my senior video anymore.
I created a daily routine a few weeks ago to get myself back in the right mindset and I noticed I’m a lot more motivated and focused on my work. I've been a lot more creative and definitely excited to continue this project with my new ideas for the video.
Believe it or not, the most difficult part of this project has been documenting the process through vlogging. Talking to a camera feels so uncomfortable to me and I always cringe when I edit the footage.
Fear of judgment is definitely holding me back from feeling completely comfortable in front of the camera but the more I do it, the less I seem to think about others opinions.
The plan for my video was to make montages of every major senior event and have interviews with seniors about post high school plans and their high school experience.
With school closing due to COVID-19 and the likelihood of us not going back to school, I had to come up with new ideas and find a new way to put together the Class of 2020 Senior Video.
Now the new idea is to follow through with the plan, play the montages and interviews then interrupt the video with COVID-19 news coverage on school closings and the world completely changing. I want the interruption to symbolize how everything changed so fast with no thought that the rest of our senior year would be taken away from us.
The next step is to put it all into Adobe Premiere Pro and start editing together the video journals and finishing other parts of the senior video. By the end of this quarantine project my goal is to have the video journals put together along with some type of trailer for the senior video.
By Zack Grenier
Recently, I’ve been asked to embark on a certain “30 day” self-improvement project. Knowing my humble self, I had not a single idea on what I could possibly do, also considering I barely do much anyways.
But then it struck me...why not actually DO something?
I thought no better than to say yes to anything that would be brought up to me this next month until now.
That being said, I regret ever making that decision.
My mom saw the perfect opportunity to slack off and make me do all her work, starting with asking me to “clean the backyard.” I saw it as just raking some leaves and putting some things away.
Once I had seen her take the patio decor out in boxes and the outrageous number of plants in pots, I knew she was not playing around. Hours went by and finally the backyard was complete. Sadly, she wasn't done with me, asking me to now clean my room (which I had been putting off since the start of our “Coronacation”).
To say the least, I am a very “I’ll do it later” type of person. Meaning I have not seen the hardwood floors of my room for the past month. I decided to get it over with and push through the procrastination.
At the end, I felt a lot of stress lifted off me now that I can actually walk to my bed.
Saying yes to everything may be a struggle but it does pay off in certain circumstances. I've already said yes to some plans next week such as hiking and wearing my “protective mask” my parents keep shoving in my face.
Safe to say I will not be relaxing while learning from home this April.
by: Alexis Almada
Being in quarantine has kind of put everyone in a funk. I know for me, I have been feeling really down and it's hard to cheer myself up by being stuck in a house for almost 4 weeks now.
In order to keep myself busy, I usually find myself doing something creative. Whether it be making art, listening to music, taking photos, or making videos, I often rely on the arts to keep me entertained. So I thought, what better way to cure this quarantine depression than with a little bit of music?
For this 30-day project, I thought I would teach myself how to play the piano, but things didn’t go to plan.
I thought that learning the piano would be fun, a good stress reliever, and something to get me outside of my comfort zone, but I didn’t enjoy it. By the end of the first week, I started lacking motivation and it felt like more of a pain to sit down and play the piano than anything else.
It was at this moment I realized why I stick to the visual arts and not performance.
Recording myself playing the piano was awkward and if I’m being honest, I kind of didn’t want to do it. I started slacking really quickly and I knew I had to change my project.
I started researching online some 30-day photography challenges that I could do and I decided to take my own spin on the challenge. I thought it would be a good idea to push my skills and creative thinking in design. Instead of taking pictures of things, I will be illustrating, collaging, photoshopping, and anything else I can think of along the way. I want to experiment and challenge myself.
This past year, I started to become really passionate about art and graphic design and the more I can develop my skills, the better. I chose this as my new project because I already know it’s something I love to do, I am just pushing my artistic abilities.
Some things that I have found challenging while creating my pieces is coming up with creative interpretations of the prompts I have listed for the 30 days. It has also been a little difficult to create a new piece every day because some of them take a long time to make. However, I am really enjoying this project because I am learning new techniques and styles along the way.
My overall goal is to create an online portfolio with these 30 pieces describing the process, research, inspiration, and brainstorming along the way.
By: Kevin Torres
For my journalism class, we were assigned to complete any task we wanted over a 30 day period to do while in quarantine.
These tasks could be a diet or exercise routine, anything that can benefit you for the future or at least something that can challenge yourself over the next month to better yourself as a person.
After a week or so of debating, I decided to try out fixing my sleep schedule because, I’ll be honest, I have been staying up pretty late. Lately, I’m up until 3-4am, since we’ve been out of school, and I feel like I haven’t been as productive.
My plan is to try to go up to bed and at least solidly attempt going to bed, and I will do this at an earlier and earlier time, as the days go on.
I started this long-term project about two weeks ago, and, honestly, I haven’t had much luck.
And while I was going up to bed earlier, about 12:30-1am, I would just lay there and stare at the ceiling for a good hour or two, tossing and turning.
Whenever I would put my phone away I would usually lay there for a good few minutes without being able to sleep then hop back on YouTube.
So my plan moving on will be to stop using my phone at a certain time before bed, probably around 11-12, because, in my research, I read that doing that will make you sleepier by the time you hit the hay, all in the hope that I can get closer to my goal of fixing my sleep schedule.
by: George Rafti
When school was canceled due to COVID-19, my Journalism teacher Mr. Martin gave us all an assignment to choose a personal goal to improve ourselves. This personal goal lasts for four weeks and longer if we wish to continue.
For my personal goal, I chose to improve my diet and workout at home without weights. So far, I don't like working out at home because when I am home I can stop whenever I want, but when I am at the gym I make myself workout for at least half an hour.
Furthermore, I want to better my diet for the future and working out at home would also keep me in shape during the quarantine.
Before quarantine, I had a horrible diet which was made up of mostly carbs, so this is a big change for me. If I stick to this, I believe I will begin to see changes within 2-3 weeks.
I chose this because I want to see how much of a change a consistent workout plan with a change in diet can make on me personally. Also, I will not change my diet all at once, I will tweak it slowly. Furthermore, I have begun to add more protein to my diet, such as steak, eggs, chicken, and nuts.
Also for my workouts I am going to do 10 sets of 15 pushups, 15 squats, 20 calf raises, 6 tricep dips, 5 pullups, and 5 chin ups. I’ll be continuing this for 4-5 days a week . As long as I do this, I'll add more to every set depending on what is easy and what is difficult.
Currently, the hardest part is to keep up with the workouts, because I am lazy when I am home.. For now I just have to keep pushing myself to do the workouts.
The diet is actually pretty easy to be honest. As long as I eat the foods I like that contain protein I'm pretty alright with it. I have to keep away from anything too sugary like chocolate or frosted flakes. Everynow and then I do eat some sugar but that's because I also want to enjoy my diet, so I do cheat a bit.
Mr. Martin's note: We have a lot of students that chose the goal of 100 push-ups per day throughout their quarantine. Instead of posting multiple posts of the same article type, I consolidated their stories. You can read them all here.
Kyle Edman's Story
How Jed has stayed active in quarantine
By: Kyle Edman
Over the last week and a half, I decided to physically challenge myself by doing 100 push-ups and sit-ups everyday and I am going to continue to keep my grind strong. I am going to maintain doing my push ups and sit ups over the next two and a half weeks for a total of four weeks long. This is what I wanted to do and it has definitely motivated me.
I decided to choose this kind of project because I have always been interested in my body physique and how I look so I can have a lot of self-confidence. Another reason I decided to do this is because now that I have completed my four years of football I don’t hit the weights as hard as I used to and with the whole COVID-19 outbreak all the gyms are closed so I felt like this was the project that would be perfect for me to do.
Staying in great shape and being physically fit is really important to the human body and this is something so simple that anyone can do at their home that will keep them active and healthy and get you stronger.
During the start of my workout grind, I was thinking to myself, “This is going to be such a waste of time and I am just gonna do it for class because I have to.”
After only a few days I was really sore and tired but I was starting to love what I was doing. I realized that is great for me and not only is it helping me but it is also keeping me on a schedule to do my push-ups and sit-ups every day. Working out is a huge motivator for me.
I have learned that I am going to hurt that’s normal and I have been doing research and watching videos and this has also motivated me to drink a lot of water and just be healthy in general.
For next week, I hope to accomplish my goal of doing my sets every day and Increase the number of push ups and sit ups I do in each set as of right now I have done 5 sets of 20 and 4 sets of 25 for a total of 100 each but I hope to increase the number and eventually be able to do two sets of 50. My overall goal is to become stronger.
Jillian Gray's Story
Starting a couple of days ago, I made the commitment for the next 4 weeks that I will push myself to do 100 push-ups and 100 sit ups a day. See now doesn’t that just sound like a fun idea?
I chose this experiment because while being bored all day because of Covid-19, it gave me a way to get up and get active. Staying healthy and taking care of my body is a huge thing to me, and this experiment kind of makes me and motivates me to do this every day for the next 4 weeks.
Oh, how I thought this would be easy.
Little did I know, the first day really kicked my butt. I tried cranking out all 100 push-ups at one time and all 100 sit ups at one time, and I just want to tell you that it was a huge mistake. After the first day, my body was aching and it felt so sore to move.
After learning my lesson the first day, I decided to start slow, only doing 10 push-ups and switching to 10 sit ups. I alternated back and forth until I hit 100 of each exercise. As the days went by, the exercises got easier and it made me feel more confident.
On most days, the sit ups were a breeze, but let me tell you that the push-ups really tire me out on most of the days. It got me frustrated when the push-ups or sit ups were getting hard and I just kept on thinking that I wasn’t strong enough. But at the end of the day, that one thought pushed me to complete the exercises each day.
I want to prove to myself that I was strong enough and that by the end of the 4 weeks I can do all the exercises at once.
Sarmin Alikavozovic's Story
I have chosen to do 100 pushups every single day for the next two weeks.
I choose to do this and I am going to write an article about it or make a project on it and see what things I notice from before vs. after doing the push ups.
I wanted to do this because i used to go to the gym and I stopped , so I wanted to see what happens when you do 100 pushups every single day. I've been doing 100 pushups every single day for the past week and a half and I feel so much better and energized from when I first started.
I wanted to face these challenges and do this exact exercise because I want to have a good body and I want to work on it and face the obstacles, both mental and physical.
For example, when I first started to do the pushups I had to split it into sets of 20 and do 20 maybe every 45 minutes. After the first 3-4 days, I was able to do 50-60 pushups at a time with no rests.
I would say that I'm seeing progress in my arms and chest and it's making me addicted to doing more and more. By next week I want to accomplish 700-800 pushups and I want to do 80-90 push ups in a row without taking a break.
I feel like 100% I can do it, I just have to have enough sleep and be motivated to do it.
Jimmy Luiz's Story
For my project during this time at home, instead of just being lazy all day everyday until the world goes back to normal, I chose to better myself.
I took on the challenge of doing 100 push ups a day and during these two weeks, I have actually gotten the motivation to do the 100 push ups no matter what and add a whole workout to them every day.
I am doing this because I love fitness and I used to go to the gym a lot. I would have had track season right now and, since it is not happening, I want to keep my body strong and healthy.
At first it was tough because I was weaker than normal but as the days have gone on, I am back and I'm going to be better than ever very soon. I have split my days up into a push day, pull day, and then legs. I have done all the workouts in my house which I am very lucky to have weights to get it done.
At first, the push ups were a challenge but I kept at it and now the push ups are getting easy but every single day my body is sore and I love it. It makes me feel better than yesterday and all i want is to wake up every day knowing i got stronger yesterday and I'm going to get even stronger today.
by: Natalia Travaglini
Mr. Martin assigned us a project where we have to do something new that benefits us. I chose to expand on my creativity and challenge myself by doing a new makeup look each day of the week.
In my regular routine, I never had lots of time to try something new, I always stuck with the same routine of a basic neutral colored look.
Since we are on quarantine and have all this extra time, I figured I could spend time doing colorful eyeshadow looks and going outside of my comfort zone. I started to experiment with colors like orange and red and even green. At first I did not have confidence on how things were going to turn out, but by the end I was proud of myself. The looks cme out much better than I thought.
One day, I did this rainbow look where the colors of the rainbow were only at the very top of my eyelid. This was hard to do because this look required patience and a steady hand. Another look I did was an orangey red eyeshadow with a bold red lip. This look was actually even more out of my comfort zone because I covered my whole lid in shadow and then added a colored lip which I never do.
The hardest part for me was coming up with the looks, so I made sure to look up some inspiration from artists and influencers to help me come up with what I wanted to do. I hope to eventually be able to do enough looks like these, so I can eventually be able to do them without looking at someone else as a guide.
by: Dzenita Korkutovic
For my project, I’m trying out veganism for the very first time. To have a vegan diet means that you cannot eat anything that comes from animals (dairy, meat, fish, and eggs.) This means a really restrictive diet from what I’m used to.
I chose to do this diet because it is something that is out of my comfort zone. I am a very picky eater with a lot of food items, but there are still many things I love to eat. In addition, my aunt has been a vegan for almost five years and I have always been interested in trying the diet to see how different you feel when eating vegan products versus eating animal products, and how it changes your body.
Also, I want to consider the changes that your body may go through from changing the diet and kinds of food you are putting in your body.
I was at my aunt’s house for almost two weeks so she could help me with planning vegan meals. We planned many meals with products like vegetables, fruits, meat alternatives or plant based proteins, and dairy alternatives. It was hard at first because of the fact that it was not what my body was used to.
I love products like chicken, beef, cheese, and milk, all of which come from animals. I had been tempted a couple of times to give up and eat some chicken but I did not.
Eating or drinking the alternatives, such as veggie meat or soy/almond milk had a huge impact on my digestive system, as my stomach was hurting for the first few days because my body was not used to eating and drinking all of these new food items.
I have learned and begun to appreciate things throughout my journey so far. The most important thing I have learned so far is how my physical health has noticeably increased since beginning this diet.
My body has been feeling so much healthier and I have more energy to do everyday things that I normally do. Next week, I hope to accomplish the diet without any cheat days or any temptations. I feel like it will be easier because I am beginning to get used to the new foods I have been eating to stick to the vegan aspect of the diet.
by: J'Von Cooper
Ever since the technological break in the late 80’s and early 90’s, many have turned to the virtual world in order to escape the stresses of the real one. Some binge watch their Netflix backlog, some finally start their New Year’s resolution four months into the year and start getting in shape.
And some research the minutiae of an over twenty-five year old game engine in order to create their very own game, just for kicks.
In all seriousness, I wanted to learn what it takes to create an enjoyable virtual experience. It’s one thing to play your backlog of seldom played classics, impulse bought titles, and viral mobile games, but I wanted to do something more productive than that.
Doom (Or doom, or DooM, or DOOM, can’t quite tell) has been a game near and dear to my heart ever since I started high school. If it wasn’t for it’s fast, kinetic gameplay, or it’s welcoming community of talented content creators, it’s the many available tools one can use to create their own content.
And I did create my own content three years ago, and it was bad.
So, with a pandemic that’s projected to take months to pass, I decided to go at it one more time. This time, with a plan.
Floor plans, for one, but also in what I want out of these levels. When playing a game like Candy Crush Saga, while simple from the outset, every level is handmade to increasingly challenge the player.
and perhaps make you buy a few extra lives in the process.
My point being I’m going into this project expecting to spend hours on the level layouts alone. If not a day or two on how the player will traverse and navigate it.
By the end of this project, I want something that I can share with my peers and be proud to share. If for nothing else, I was to prove to myself that I’ve grown as a game designer.
Pride’s not something I tend to gamble with, but I’ve sat myself at the Poker table, and I’ve got chips to move.
And, who knows, maybe I’ll make the right people proud and end up at Microsoft. A guy can dream.
by: Finn McCarty
I’ve always been a clumsy person, which makes it difficult for me to keep my hands steady when using a guitar.
However, I’ve been using this quarantine to break these boundaries and sharpen my skills. I decided to teach myself to play lead guitar...or at least try.
When I began, I didn’t have the confidence to keep my heart set on a goal, so I went into it with the mindset that I wouldn’t be achieving anything any time soon.
Nevertheless, I persisted, and within a week I had already learned my first solo.
My journey was painful. This is especially because my fingers hurt most of the time while I practiced. I’m excited to see what else I can achieve while I’m trapped indoors until further notice.
Watch the video to see me progress from frustration to enthusiasm within 8 days!
By: Bella del Aguila
At the beginning of this assignment, way back when we were still in physical school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I couldn’t think of an area of my mind that was open for improvement. I can rarely answer personal questions like that because it just makes me blank out.
For example, when I had to fill out all the request forms for teacher recommendation letters, there were a few questions about what I believe to be my best qualities. How do you even answer that?
I don’t enjoy judging myself on things like that because I never want to appear narcissistic or, contrarily, insecure. I feel like I completely lose my sense of self when I get asked those types of questions, but I’m not sure why. It’s just a thing that happens.
Upon starting this project, I also didn’t feel that I could consistently reach for a certain goal without falling behind or getting bored. I looked for suggestions online and came up with nothing, so I was about to give up and just go with something simple, like reading every day.
I’m okay with reading, so it couldn’t be that difficult to do something like that. But I needed to do something that I was more passionate about, something that I was more excited to accomplish, rather than just a pastime for some academic credit.
Then, it hit me: I should create a new piece of art every day.
To make a long story short, no I should not.
I tried going with the “one new piece a day” routine, but it drained me of all creativity and motivation by the time a single week had passed. The issue here was that I had already started for the whole week, so it wasn’t like I could change my project topic at that point. So, in order to keep the motivation flowing but also not overwhelm myself with work, I had to come up with a new plan.
I decided to just write down any ideas that popped into my head at any given time, and then bring the concepts to life at my own pace. This is the new system that has helped me in getting back into my own art, and it’s keeping me active in the creative process. Things had been getting frustrating before, but I’m finally producing good work again so I’d say it was a functional idea.
by: Nathan Loura
Pushing yourself and discipline has always been instilled in me since I was a baby by my father. He always taught me that when you feel the most tired that is when you have to push yourself even more.
I based my project off of that mindset.
I wanted to get my mile pace back to what it was when I was about 16. My record mile pace was 5.17 minutes per mile. However I lost that pace because I started to go for longer runs so I tried to go with a more steady pace rather than going for speed. However, while doing this project I decided to get back to my old ways.
I started this project with one thing in mind and that was to beat my own personal record. With all the gyms closed down and not much other things to do other than do mostly cardio and running. I decided to take my old approach.
I used to do 6 miles in the morning which is where I was able to get that fast pace going and set my 5.17 minute pace record for myself. However, then I decided to start doing 12 miles instead of 6. That is when my time started to increase because I felt that I wouldn’t be able to keep my 5.17 minute pace running 12 miles without stopping. So eventually my pace increased all the way up to 6.00 minutes flat and varied around there. Some days being more and others being less.
The first week, I brought it back down to 6 miles but my pace was still a little high. By the end of the first week I was able to get my pace down to about 5.51 minutes per mile. It was a progress, but it wasn’t as much as I wanted it to be. The second week that is when I was really happy with my progress. I was able to get my pace down all the way to 5.30 minutes per mile. Which was about 21 seconds better than the previous week.
This project is very important to me because it gives me the opportunity to compete against myself.
I feel that the biggest competition you’ll ever face is the person staring back at you in the mirror. That is who I am competing with when I am doing my project and I want nothing more to keep setting new records for myself so that I can break them and make new records. That is why I chose this for my project, so that I can get in that mindset and apply it to other parts of my life and also apply it to the ring as well.
by: Mya Pellegrino
While being stuck in my house for almost 3 weeks (and eating everything in sight), I started to become really lazy and had no motivation to do any physical activity.
However, I decided it was time to change that!
I wanted to do something that would force me to be active while also eating a lot healthier.
I came up with the idea of either trying out different workouts or something that affected my eating habits like trying a detox drink for a week or so.
I chose to do something that affected my health because being quarantined in my house gave me too much time on my hands, that wasn't being used up. I was spending countless hours watching Netflix and scrolling through TikTok. I found myself eating way too much junk food and not being productive at all, and it needed to stop.
Now, I had plans to vlog what I have been doing over the past week and to be honest, I keep forgetting. However, over this past week, I wanted to do something that forces me to be active, so I tried running about three miles a day. I wanted to do something that involved running because it gives me a chance to exercise and why not take advantage of the warm weather!
Honestly, I've felt so productive after going for a longer run than usual. It makes me want to keep going during the day, rather than sit around or take five naps. I've also been trying to eat a lot healthier and I've been feeling great and full of energy!!
For this upcoming week, I'm trying to cut out eating a lot of carbs and try to balance the foods I eat. I think it will be a small challenge trying to cut out carbs, but if it makes me feel better it's a challenge I'm willing to take.
by: Serena Console
Before we all realized that two weeks of quarantine was not enough time to return our “normal” lives, the original idea for my two week project for journalism was to organize my house.
At the time I thought that it would be a great way to kill time, but after finding out we would be in quarantine for much longer than two weeks, I decided to try something that would benefit my physical, mental, and emotional well being. My new idea was to create a new every day routine.
During the time that we were in school, most of us had the simple routine of waking up, going to school, and then the after-school plan: eating, then sleeping, but now we’re stuck at home and our routines have definitely changed. To fix this problem, I decided to create my own routine of what I need to do in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
I was struggling to get started so I spoke with English teacher, Mr. Martin and he helped me get started on this routine. He was able to provide me with great information based on his personal experience of following a routine. Mr. Martin shared with me that having a great morning leads to the rest of the day being just as great.
With the information I was given, I decided that I need to eat something good in the morning and do all my school work before noon so that it was out of the way and it helped me have time for other things, such as working out or organizing.
While trying out the new routine, I faced some challenges and the biggest challenge was having motivation. I struggled to have motivation to push myself to workout that day and to get up or go to bed at the time I set. That lack of motivation definitely overpowered me some days where I felt sad about myself, but those moments also helped me look at myself and say that I need to do this because I know it will help me.
Although this was a project, I am going to continue working on this routine because this distance learning is very similar to what college will be like. You have your own routine in college because classes are not always back to back and some of the work you do is being done on your own time. Continuing this routine will help me get a start on training my mind and body to having a more independent every day routine.
By Tyler Wolf
A few weeks ago, Mr. Martin, my journalism teacher, asked us students, “If there is anything you wanted to do in life, what would it be?”
We had the next four weeks from the start of Distance Learning to complete a project that finds meaning or a task you would like to do. After going through many ideas (TikTok videos, drumming, and woodworking), I decided that I would read the Bible.
Not only can I do this project independently, but it is something that would be beneficial for me in my life. Growing up in a Christian household, We read the bible a lot. We were so involved in our church, we read our Bibles regularly, at least four times a week.
Everything was good until when I got to Middle School, I was lonely. I did not have many friends.
I felt like with the friend I had, I started to become a person I am not. I thought the only way I was going to get friends, was to be funny.
This is how I started to use vulgar language, thinking if I did that in conjunction with being funny would make me fit in (Before this, I had a sense of humor but it was appropriate and respectful).
I was making the same poor choices throughout ninth, tenth and eleventh grade. This is especially true when I was in tenth grade. Long story short I was trying to be funny, which led to hurting a lot of people's feelings.
It was not until recently that I felt it was important to get back to being more devoted to my roots and Christianity. I came back to the realization that if I live life as a Christian then my life would change. I decided to be fully devoted again, as opposed to being halfway devoted.
I planned to read the Bible for at least ten minutes every day. I found that it was not too hard, however, I found that, without our standard school and life schedule, it was easy to lose track of time aspect .
The main reason why I forget the time is because I find myself in a work related state of mind, or I find myself too tired after a long day to do anything but watch a movie or go to bed.
When I don’t read I feel this sense of non accomplishment, like the one big thing I want to change in my life and I forgot it again! That can be frustrating! What drives me to read at least ten minutes a day is the fulfillment of knowing my life will be more fantastic than it already is!
I am planning on setting on time on reading the Bible, so I don’t lose track of time.
The big difference between reading the Bible now versus when I was a child is the fact that I am reading the actual version as opposed to a children’s book compiled with stories within the Bible instead of chapters.
This is week two of my project and while I had some inconsistencies in days, I realized that all I can do is try my best and move forward in this process. This has been a really gratifying experience to be able to have God more involved in my life. I feel like a more grateful, caring, helpful, thankful, respectful and most importantly happier than I felt in a long time.
By: Zane Tinker
We’ve all been thrust into an interesting situation with this quarantine, everybody is stuck at home all of a sudden with a lot more time on their hands. This leads to the question, what is one to do with all this extra time?
Yes, most of us love lounging around, but it’s times like this where we have a chance to do something new and check something off of our bucket list. So many people have newfound time and everybody is going to something different with it.
My entire life I have been surrounded by music of all sorts, I’ve sang in various choirs and I have played percussion instruments for well over half a decade.
I am using this quarantine as an excuse to finally teach myself the Ukulele. The Ukulele is a Hawaiian string instrument that I can play as I sing. Singing while playing a percussion instrument can be a lot more challenging.
Teaching myself this instrument hasn’t been nearly as easy as I anticipated, I never expected learning how to use a fret board would be as confusing as it actually turned out to be. For someone with large hands like myself, the instrument and its strings are quite small. My finger tips weren’t used to pushing down the strings and they felt sore after an hour of practicing. Even so I am making progress, however slow it may be.
Although I’m not too proficient at the Ukulele yet, this experience has been very beneficial, by giving me time to reflect on myself as well as the position I’m in.
by: Connor Stahl
Let's first start off on why I am doing this article, I am here talking to you today because Mr. Martin wanted us to do something to better ourselves during this time.
With this, I decided to do the Evil Russian Pushup Challenge.
Intimidating, I know, but I wanted to do this because want to get stronger and I have always made excuses for not working out and now I can do it all. This challenge makes you stronger by making you do pushups every day based on a percentage of your max pushup, (I will link the challenge so you can see the percentages for yourself).
When I first started , it was pitiful, I was only able to do 10 pushups. After the first week, I could do 15 and now, at the end of the two week challenge, I can do 20 in a row, that's a 100% increase in strength!
From there, because I liked it so much I decided to do it for another two weeks. During this time, it wasn't just all rainbows and ponies there were some good days and bad days, that's what makes it a challenge. For the first week, my arms were burning every day; from not doing push ups that often to doing it every hour put a strain on me. The strain wasn’t just physical, it was mental as well.
Imagine dropping whatever you are doing to do push ups and even after all this time, it is still hard to do. In the beginning, I kind of hated my alarm, it was a reminder that it was a time to work. Now, it has become part of the daily routine and it doesn't bother me that much anymore, I see it as a chance to improve myself.
I am definitely glad to have this program because without it I dought I would be pushing myself as hard to work out. On that note check out the video below for my first weekly check in.
By: Matt Silver
After being tasked with the creation of a routine in which I did something every day for upwards of a month, I took it upon myself to try to fully immerse myself into the Star Wars saga. I would watch one movie a day, in chronological order (starting at episode I, then going to II, III, IV, and so on).
While this began as a movie-watching project, at this point, it is much more than just that.
Why Star Wars? And why now? Both questions are valid, and I wondered about them myself at some points during my journey.
I chose the Star Wars movie series for a couple reasons, a main one being that there were enough movies so that it would fall into the minimum time guidelines of the project. The second reason was because of my community.
Star Wars is, and has been, a huge deal in our society. That being said, up until this point I had never seen the originals, leaving me left out.
It feels as if everyone around me has some sort of secret going when they reference different scenes in a movie, or even understand different parts of a video game. I wanted to get in on these secrets.
They became apparent when I started watching the series, that’s for sure. Because of the over-dramatised scenes in the old movies, catch phrases were easy to point out. I found myself subconsciously repeating them at times during my day, especially the quote above.
At this point, I have finished all except for the newly produced movies in the series (VII, VIII, IX) and I must admit, I am enjoying these films more than I originally thought that I would. The production quality of the older movies, while quite old, gave them some charm that directors can only hope to recreate.
Throughout my viewing process I had some lows, but mostly ups. The movies are truly enthralling and except for episode IV and V, they have good enough quality to make up for their age.
Episode IV (1977) and episode V (1980) were lackluster compared to their other counterparts, but that is coming from someone who is used to perfect CGI and modern editing. For their time, it is understandable why they were so popular.
By the end of this coming week, I will have completed the series. I am planning on creating a video breaking down how I felt after watching each film, and my takeaways after watching the entire set.
By: Audrey Mainville
It is week one into my learning of how to play the piano. Not really piano, seeing that the only accessible piano-like device I have is a Casio keyboard from... I think 2000 something?
I’m not complaining though, it’s all the same to me.
I took on this task primarily because I have spent the last few months deep in a void of music. I listen to around fifty-sixty songs a day, and no matter the genre, the year, or the song, I hear piano in everything. There are so many instruments I could focus on, however, there’s just something about piano that seems universal, and relatively easy, though I may be judging too soon.
I have begun to learn the song, “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. I picked it through a simple Google search, “easy songs to learn on piano,” yes I realize how lame that sounds, but so far it’s been a comfortable song to learn.
The biggest issue I currently face is learning to coordinate two hands. One hand is playing the lyrics, if you will, and the other hand is keeping a steady beat underneath. The timing of these two hands aren’t always in sync, and I have a difficult time grasping that.
By next week, I hope to link the two hands, and hopefully be further into the song. I also am hoping to learn how to read actual music, instead of mimicking a video (since that’s what I’ve been doing for now).
For now I’m quite pleased with how things are turning out. Beginner’s luck maybe? Who knows - all I can say is that I find the musically inclined to be the best type of people. I guess you could say I just want a piece of that.
By: Haley Krawczyk
I was given the task of developing a 30 day challenge for journalism; something that is intended to make me a better person. After consideration, a worldwide pandemic seems like an ideal time to get into shape, so I decided to see what 30 days of exercise could do for my body.
I have always loved to workout, but I normally had a swim practice to go to every day to force me to exercise. With the outbreak of COVID-19, sports are cancelled, leaving athletes to fend for themselves while still maintaining their physique for next season.
Luckily, I have access to a home gym. This is helpful for use of equipment, but of course, there are countless workouts that require none at all. For example, I have been going on walks, runs, and hikes everyday to get outside and be in a different environment.
To the right is a picture of my elliptical workout from about halfway through the first week. This has actually been my first week owning this piece of equipment and I absolutely love it.
After the first week of this project, the largest take-away is that I need more of a structure with my workouts. I can hop on an elliptical or go for a run when I feel like it, but what if I’m not in the mood? What is going to force me to exercise?
I believe that goal-setting is something I should make a priority by giving myself weekly goals that I want to accomplish. Maybe completing an online workout video everyday or doing a certain number of sit-ups.
Ultimately, I realized that the second week of this experiment needs to include a written plan; a checklist that I can mark off as completed. This paper will be openly displayed so that I am forced to be reminded of my workout plan, and encouraged to do it as well.
Having this type of written structure will hopefully give me a starting point to work off of, as there were several days when I found myself lost on what to do for exercise.
Numerous companies such as Nike have apps designed for at-home workouts. Also, influences make videos on YouTube for the same purpose. Those are both things that I will look into in order to help me discover new exercises and routines for the weeks to come.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.