Growing Up During COVID
Kindergartener Kian Burton, from Roberts Elementary School, shared this artwork showing how COVID-19 changed his life. “Before I went to school, and now I work on the computer,” he said.

Growing Up During COVID

More than 90 students entered The Stand’s writing contest aimed at documenting how COVID-19 has affected our community’s youth. In partnership with the Syracuse City School District, students in kindergarten through 12th grade were asked to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their daily life and community. 

Younger students drew pictures or created audio responses, while older students wrote of isolated birthdays, virtual school and closing businesses. 

A panel of local judges, including Stand board members Cal Corriders and Reggie Seigler, selected winning submissions to be published based on originality and organization of their writing, as well as on grammar and spelling. 

Winners also receive passes to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and Syracuse Stage, as well as a $60 Wegmans gift card.

YOUTH WINNERS

“The COVID-19”
Me and the COVID don’t get along. What is COVID? Well, it is a very bad virus that can make you very sick. It is very bad. You can’t go to your friends’ home if you wanted to have a sleepover. Time to unfriend COVID ’cause it stinks. When we go outside, we have to wear masks to keep each other safe. You can’t dine out with your family.

—By Isabella Detlor
second grader at Delaware Primary School

“COVID Stinks”
COVID-19 is like taking out the garbage. They both stink. COVID-19 is something that can make you sick. Life has changed a lot. In school, it is all virtual. It has been a crazy year. When I leave the house and I go to the grocery store, I can’t touch anything. I can see my friends on virtual school. COVID-19 stinks: I can’t go to my friend’s house.

I am going to unfriend COVID-19 on Roblox.

— By Adi Abubeker
second grader at Delaware Primary School

ELEMENTARY WINNER

“COVID Life”
In early 2020, I first learned of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a virus that has serious health consequences and has impacted both myself, my family, and my community and globally. COVID-19 has impacted me in many ways. Due to COVID 19, my life of COVID-19 has been different. By different I mean that now I can’t go places, like school or my favorite local parks like Thornden park, what I call the “bug park” at Clarks Reservation, or the park at Onondaga Lake parkway. It has also affected my ability to participate in activities such as the sports I do. I also can’t see friends and family, and not seeing friends and family has impacted my daily life. I also have experienced some family members that have been tested positive for COVID-19, and I felt worried at times.

Also, some things that has affected our community is businesses. For example, getting off the highway there used to be a car shop and now it is just dirt! I think this building got knocked down because the business wasn’t making money. Also, our local Bed Bath and Beyond has closed for now. I think this is important because losing businesses can have a big impacted on people, this impacted is someone losing their job, and losing a job can cause losing money and then families might not have any money to buy supplies. So, that is why I think businesses should try their best to stay in business. Another thing that is affected our community is that people might not feeling great because of their mental health. They might feel sad, or even disappointed and more. Also, some people had to cancel their vacations because of COVID-19, and that might have been disappointing to them, but I know they are not alone with it.

I wish COVID-19 would go away!

— By Willow Herbig
 fourth grader at Syracuse Latin School

MIDDLE SCHOOL WINNER

“Life As We Knew It”
I remember when everything was normal. I would get on the bus every morning and go to school. Me and my friends would talk and laugh and cry. We’d go through the school day, and then walk the short distance to Clary Middle School for musical practice. We’d sing and dance and laugh and have a generally good time. I remember my first performance of Frozen Jr. By the end of the show, no one wanted it to stop. We wanted to stay there forever.

Times now are different. Much different. We can’t hug or high-five anymore. We can’t see each other’s smiles. Heck, we can’t even see them! We can’t see our family or friends. Many people are losing loved ones. Every person in CNY has been affected by this pandemic in some way. I lost my uncle, one of my classmates got sick, my grandma got cancer. We can’t leave the house.

On warm summer days, my family would go mini-golfing or go to the mall. Some of the best times were when we went to South Carolina or to the mall. We can’t do that anymore. Even grocery shopping is risky. Masks are the new “normal”. Sometimes, I wonder what kind of world my younger siblings will grow up in. A five-year-old, two-year-old, and a one-year-old. They will grow up not knowing the simple joys of having a sleepover or a school cookout. Everything has changed from what it was. 

But one thing that will never change is that we are in this together. Never before have I seen the world so united. Even through all of the events going on, from police brutality to elections to the riots, we have stood by each other and helped one another when we fell. 

Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Things could get better. Things could get worse. But the one thing I know is that no matter what, we are here for each other. We can’t go back to how things used to be, but we can remember how it was. We can’t bring people back, but we can hold them close in our hearts. 

I have a task for you. I want you to find someone in your life that you care about, and I want you to tell them that you care. I want you tell them that you appreciate them. Because you never know exactly how long you have with them. But don’t be scared of losing them! Instead of worrying about the end, think of the journey. And then maybe the world will be just a little bit brighter.

­— By Raelin Gott
eighth grader at Expeditionary Learning Middle School

HIGH SCHOOL WINNER

“In a Blink”
In a blink,
2020 has arrive, 
“Hey, I might just survive!”. 
The media scouts,
We reroute,
In a blink,
1,000 dead,
And 1,000 more in bed.
“Stay six feet apart”,
I have to use my heart, 
But what good is my heart if I’m not smart?
In a blink,
Put on the mask,
It’s my first task.
I need a hug, 
But it’s too risky to tug.
I’m not sick,
Myself I tricked,
Grandmother, mother, 
We should have stayed away from one another.
We’re better,
Got our letters.
School is next, 
No, I cannot read the text. 
In a blink, 
2021 is the year, 
I feel an everlasting fear, 
I didn’t have it as bad as society, 
But I cannot contain my anxiety.
A million more dead, 
A million more in bed. 
Why can’t when I blink,
Covid 19 turns to a chapter in ink?

— By Keiasia Hines
10th grader at Nottingham High School