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High School Seniors Talk Plans For Life After Graduation And Finishing School During COVID-19

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>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Welcome to noon edition on WFIU. I'm Bob Zaltsberg from the WFIU WTIU news team. I'm co hosting today with Sara Wittmeyer, WFIU WTIU news director. And we're recording the show remotely of course because of COVID 19 trying to stay as safe and keep everybody as safe as possible. Today we're gonna be talking with members of the high school class of 2020 about their plans and how it feels to be finishing their high school career during a pandemic. We have four guests with us from around the area. We have Trent Kirby who's from Bloomington High School South, Jayden Rodriguez who's from Franklin Central High School, Grace Wang who's from Columbus North High School and Abby Fuller who's from Eastern Greene high school. If you have questions or comments for these graduating seniors you can send them to us at news at Indiana Public Media dot org. You can also follow us on Twitter at noon edition. All right well I'm gonna ask each one of you to talk a little bit about yourselves and I'm gonna start with Jayden Rodriguez first. If you can give us a short bio to make sure we know who you are. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Hi, my name's Jayden. I am a senior from Grand Central High School. I'm currently enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Okay. Can I just ask what you know - what you've done in high school, what have you been involved in? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I spent a lot of time in the theater department. All four years of high school I was working either tech or I was working in the musical. I did track during high school. I threw shot put. And I also helped with the creative writing club. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Okay. Great. So let's go next to Abby Fuller. Abby. 

>>ABBY FULLER: Hi I'm Abby Fuller. I'm a senior at Eastern green high school. I will be attending Tachochlie University for aesthician school. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And what was your high school years - what were your high school years? Like what kind of things did you do? 

>>ABBY FULLER: I was involved with many sports throughout the year. I ran track and played basketball and volleyball. I was also a student athletic trainer for a football team one year. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And Grace why don't you go next? 

>>GRACE WANG: Hi I'm Grace Wang. I'm from Columbus North High School. And in the fall I hope that I will be attending Harvard to study economics. But I may take a gap year depending on whether or not it will be online or not. And in high school I was very involved in creative writing. I was really involved in a lot of academic teams, academic school teams and I also did penance. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And Trent, our last of the seniors. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah. Hi. I'm Trent Kirby. I went to Bloomington South High School. And I plan on going to IU as a (unintelligible) to Kelly in the fall. And during my years in high school I played basketball for years football for years and I was in a group called Sounds Of South which is just basically like our choir and like we throw musicals and stuff in the fall. And I did that for three years. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. So I want to - Trent I'll keep you on first. So I'll start we'll start with you on the second question. But I think one of the big things that's so different. And I have to say, before I go any further, this is one of my favorite shows of the year. It's always great to talk to high school seniors people who are getting ready to start a new chapter of their lives. And we've talked to a lot of done a lot of different things. And they've all been really interesting to talk to. And I have no doubt that you four are going to be the same today. But this is different because you have not really been in your school building for a couple of months now. So if you all four can sort of describe to us what it's been like to finish up the way that you've had to finish up I'd appreciate it. So Trent why don't you go first? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Well, for me a lot of times like seniors will like kind of have like an easier like their year won't be as hard as like their previous years. But for me on my last semester I had like four really hard classes that I was trying to get through like a dual credit course for IU and like multiple AP classes. So I mean I had kind of a busy schedule. But it helped that like a lot of our teachers at least in my school - they're really trying to reach out and help in any way we could and tried to make it as much like a classroom experience as we could obviously during these really weird times. So... 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Grace. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah for me it was definitely kind of - of course it was a shock but also it was kind of a weight off my shoulders just because I was also juggling a few AP classes and I was also getting involved with a few extracurriculars. So it was actually like kind of an interesting break from what my school schedule usually looked like but also of course it's really sad that we didn't get to have prom or graduation or any of that stuff. So it's kind of a give and take of things that maybe are helping me wind down the school year but also not getting to finish in a traditional way. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Abby. 

>>ABBY FULLER: Yeah. It was definitely a weird time. But at my school our teachers were very involved with reaching out to us and helping us and making sure that we were getting the help that we needed if we needed it. And especially being in a few dual credit classes, it was definitely kind of like a weight off my shoulders because there was lots of projects that we didn't have to do any more because there is just no possible way that we could have done it online. But it was definitely a change. And I'm really proud of all the - or how the seniors have handled this situation and how they still push and do their hardest and their best through it all. But it was definitely a change. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: And Jayden. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: It's been really kind of frustrating to be honest because there are all these plans to do everything for you senior year and this is like the year that our parents and our relatives talked about for our lives telling us this is going to be the greatest year and everything. And then to have it not happen is kind of frustrating. But at my school the school and the teachers and also parents and the community has just been very supportive of us. And they did a thing called adopt a senior where every senior was adopted and another family brought gifts for them so that at least we still felt celebrated in some way. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: We did that too well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah. Go ahead Trent. And you know I'm trying to make sure that you all get plenty of time to talk but just jump in if you've got something that you want to say. You don't have to wait for me to call on you. So Trent how did that go here at South? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Well I mean it was kind of a similar thing. I would even help my mom some. Like once like I kind of knew what the situation was because they obviously made it sort of a surprise at first but it was fun. Like me my mom would go out and like fix a found go deliver them and it just kind of brought the community together like back together a little bit after being apart. So I mean it was really cool. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So I think we should say also - and it seems like most seniors in high school - I had not done a scientific study of any kind - but seem to be handling this very maturely, the four of you certainly seem to. Because of course there are a lot of people that you know are very sick or losing their lives or losing loved ones and it's tough to lose out on all that stuff in your high school senior year. But there's sadder stories around I guess is what I'm trying to say. So I appreciate your maturity and the way that you're all handling this. So Jayden you're going to be heading off to the Air Force. So has this changed your plan in any way the covid 19? Has it altered your schedule or when you can go? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Slightly how basic training is going to go has changed just a little bit. At the beginning for the first two weeks I'll be on restricted movement with my flight or the group that I'm training with. And also we don't know yet if my date has been pushed back yet for if I - from when I leave or not. A quick change we're not sure yet. So far it looks like I'll still be leaving June 9th. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And so again why did you choose military over going to college or going into the workforce into a job? Not that the military isn't a job. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I've always wanted to be - since I was in sixth grade I dreamed of being in the military. At first it was the Marines. And then it was - it just flipped back and forth. I also wanted to be in law enforcement. And when I started looking into branches the Air Force was the one that would give me the best benefits, the one that would treat me the best and get me the best opportunities out of all the branches. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK do you have other friends who are going to be joining the Air Force or other branches of the military with you or along? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I have have quite a few friends from SC or from other schools - I went to a place called Central Nine vocational school. I met other kids from other schools. And they're all going to the military as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Those of you who - I want to turn to Grace and Trent because you're in sort of a there's kind of a no man's land right now - no woman's land I guess we could say too about whether you're gonna be on campus or not in the fall. So what are you thinking about? Grace you said you might take a gap year. When are you gonna know? If you do take a gap year what are you gonna do? 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah. It's been kind of a difficult decision to make just because my school hasn't announced yet whether or not we will be on campus or what fall semester will look like there's just a lot of sort of tradition that I wouldn't want to miss out on campus. If we were to be online then we would miss out on most of those things that traditionally happened during the freshman fall. I would only take a gap year probably if travel restrictions were lifted and I was able to travel or start some sort of project. I don't think I would take a gap year if it would just be me at home doing nothing. I think I would still prefer to start college if that were the case. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Okay how about you Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Well for me I plan on (inaudible) I'm already living in Bloomington. So like me it's like I was already planning on living at home also. So if I had to do stuff like learning at home I don't think it would be like a huge deal. I mean obviously the college experience like Grace said like it's freshman year. But I mean I think I still plan on going to school no matter the case. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: I would think it would be really difficult to learn online the kind of skills you're gonna need to go into - to get an aesthiticians license. What's your school planning for the foreseeable future? 

>>ABBY FULLER: So they have different start dates every six weeks. And there's a start date here in a few weeks that I won't be attending because I originally wasn't going to be graduating yet. But they're gonna do the first six weeks online in the first weeks anyways are like classroom like textbook kind of learning so that's not going to be difficult. But after that yeah. It's gonna be difficult to learn all of the all the different techniques and all the different page shows and things like that. So right now they're still unsure about where we're actually gonna be able to come in and you know practice you know in person. So right now I'm kind of just in the dark waiting to see how things turn out and see if I'll actually have no in-person classes or not. 

>>SARA WITTMEYER: I just have a question for all of you. And that is do you think there are things that you missed in the last third of the year that without those things that's going to affect your ability to sort of hit the ground running and whatever the next stage is for you? 

>>ABBY FULLER: I honestly think that this whole experience is preparing us even more. Because it teaches us to adapt to change. And everyone seems to be handling it better than I think we often thought we would. And it's just helping us be prepared for the unexpected in the future. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah I definitely agree with that. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Video that was Jayden and Abby right? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Yes. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Grace, Trent. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah. I also think that it's a really great way to just kind of prepare us for the future and also to kind of just open our eyes to the world because of course maybe in high school, maybe you're kind of in a bubble where you're only in that world of high school. But having this happen to us and seeing the world in a little bit of a of a bigger picture before we leave for college I think is really important. And also just having kind of this extra time with my family, I've really appreciated it before I have to go to college. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah. I would agree that it's definitely been a learning experience. I think in general that the class of 2020 will be a lot stronger for it. Like for example like I was on the basketball team and we were like getting ready to prepare for Regionals and something like they canceled it like the day we were about to head down to Seymour to play. Well they had delayed it at the time. But like we were all just like shocked like there's nothing like this has happened to any of us. And I think it's just gonna be like a big learning experience for all of us that like the world like doesn't wait for anybody to like change like in many ways like you won't expect. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So yeah. I want to pursue this question a little bit deeper. I do have to say that Trent your basketball team as a lot of people listening might know but some might not was undefeated basically a favorite to win the state championship. So it was a special year you had going on. I wanted to ask you all to say a little bit more about what you did learn. I mean is there something that you know when you - is there a way that you're different now than you were two months ago before this whole thing started? Is there something that you've really learned not to take for granted or that you've learned is more important than you maybe thought it was? And Abby let's start with you. 

>>ABBY FULLER: Something I lot loyalists definitely not to take time for granted. I mean I was definitely looking forward to spending the last few weeks with fellow classmates and making our final numerous together. And it kind of just taught me that you know we never know what's going to happen and you know we never know if it's going to be the last time we see someone. And it's kind of just want me to enjoy the moment that I'm in and not to take it for granted. And you know to talk to those people that you might not normally talk to because it might be the last time you see them in the classroom or to just really check in on the people around me because you never know what's going on in our lives and they might just need someone to check in and make sure that they're OK. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Grace. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah I definitely agree that it's really taught me that time spent with my friends, especially friends that maybe we're going in different directions after high school - it's really important to spend a lot of time with them. And it's kind of made me regret maybe not making the time for some of my friends during my high school career, like maybe prioritizing an extracurricular or something over just having that time to make memories with them. So that's something I'll definitely take into college and learn to like - an experience in school isn't just about academics but it's about the people you meet as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Jayden. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: It's taught me to appreciate every little thing that comes and goes. Like I started appreciate hanging out with my younger sisters and my mom more. I've gotten to know them better than - I thought I knew my family pretty well but being stuck inside with them for 10 weeks has shown me I didn't know them as well as I thought I did. So getting to hang out with my little sisters more and getting to be around them more and just being with my family makes me appreciate everything just a little bit more. And it's making me appreciate time more as I'm getting ready to leave. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Trent. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah. I mean a lot of the same stuff I'm here. And just - like a lot of us like we've just haven't we've lost a lot of our touch with our friends, that we don't know when we're gonna see him again like with this quarantine. Like we don't know if we're ever going to see these people again. And like we just have learned to cherish like the people that we're with. Like me and my family - obviously everyone's spending a lot more time of their family. It's building those like bonds even deeper than they were before. So same thing. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right good. We're talking with four high school seniors who are graduating during the pandemic. If you have questions or comments for them you can give us a call. You can't give us call. But you can send us a note. News that Indiana Public Media dot org and ask your question or give us your comment. You can also find us on Twitter at noon edition. So the four that we have with us are Trent Kirby from Bloomington High School South, Jayden Rodriguez from Franklin Central High School, Grace Wang from Columbus North High School and Abby Fuller from Eastern Greene high school. So as I said before this is one of my favorite shows of the year. And you know we have talked now for 20 minutes or so basically about covid 19 and we'll probably talk about it more before the show's over. But that's been our topic for the last I think eight or nine weeks on this show wall to wall. Today we can talk about a few other things and I want to ask each of you first to think about you know before covid 19 hit I mean what were the issues, the greater issues that you were maybe passionate about or curious about or wanted to learn more about that would be you know a little bit bigger maybe than just what you were doing in high school for the next day? Let's start with Trent on that one. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Well for me my big focus at the time before all this started was probably basketball because like we had really high hopes this year of going far in the tournament. And like we were all just like ready to go. And we were undefeated at the time so we were like really like looking forward to like what we could do in the tournament this year. So I mean I was probably it for me. Like we were really really excited about this year. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So again I want to explore that a little bit because you know basketball is a sport but it's more than winning and losing. What did you learn from the game of basketball besides just the fact that you could win every time out? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Well it's a lot about having trust in your teammates. Like I think the bonds that I made - we had five seniors on our team this year. And we were just like super close like we were always on the same page. And like it was so fun to be with those guys every day in practice and just work for a common goal. So like yeah. I think that was a big thing just like the camaraderie with all of that. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right Jayden. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I think my biggest fear was just getting ready for basic training and trying to set a good example for my younger sisters before I leave and teaching them to like how to hold their own before I left. And it's still a big concern of mine. But before this whole mess started, before this covid came into place, just being there and teaching them how to take care of themselves and to be there for my mom while I'm gone. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: How old are your sisters? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: My sisters are eleven and eight. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. All right Grace. 

>>GRACE WANG: So during the school year I was actually planning to do this kind of creative writing and volunteering seminar with some of the younger students in my community. So one of the things I'm really passionate about is creative writing and sort of that form of self-expression. So I was going to kind of do this like month long sort of lesson plan with all of these elementary school students and kind of give them some basics to creative writing, get them kind of interested in this form of how to express themselves. So that was something I was planning to do. I ended up doing it online. So it kind of still worked out despite the situation. I was also looking forward to doing some traveling over the summer just because I'm really passionate about history as well. And I think that history would probably be something that I'm looking forward to studying when I go into college. So I was planning to go to a few places during the summer and kind of just see the different culture and the different history of those places. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: What interests you about history? 

>>GRACE WANG: I'm just - I'm really interested in kind of human behavior I think. And sort of the science behind what drives people to do things and also how culture and how society shapes individuals and their behavior. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: And so where did you hope to go this summer? 

>>GRACE WANG: I was actually planning kind of an East Asian trip. And I had - so I was going to go of course to China. I go to China pretty much every summer to see family. And I was also planning to go to Japan and South Korea. And then in the winter time I was planning a trip to Europe as well. So of course of those plans have been put on the backburner. So we'll see when I get to do those. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Abby What were you interested in? What were your passion points? 

>>ABBY FULLER: Well I mean before all this started happening I started working at Kohl's. I decided that you know I wasn't going to make a career in sports. So I might as well you know start saving money. And I wanted to start saving money so this summer I could also go travel and go see the world and you know make more memories with my friends because I was already realizing that our time together was short, like within a few months you know we'd see each other a couple months you know a couple times a year you know that. So I was really just focused on spending time with my friends and traveling. And I was really really looking forward to the trip I was going to take my friends this year and going out to Montana to see my family out there. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK Sara. 

>>ABBY FULLER: I'm curious with Grace and Trent. Trent you're going to the business school. And Grace you're interested in economics. How has your interests changed based on the way the economy is right now. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: For me, I mean, it hasn't changed too much because obviously it's a unique situation that we're in right now and I think there's still plenty of opportunity in the future for the economy to expand and, like, get - bounce back to normal. So - just once all this is over. So, I mean, it hasn't really affected what I - my thoughts about it so far. I'm very positive thinking about it. 

>>GRACE WANG: For me, it was kind of just - I've always been interested in economics, not really in a finance route but kind of sort of economics as the way we learn about how people prioritize resources or maximize their resources. So I think it's really interesting how we've seen sort of the economy kind of crumble during this time and how stocks have kind of plummeted. And maybe how - it's been interesting for me to see how the government has responded to that in kind of some of the policies that they've put in place. Meanwhile, we have also sort of this rising unemployment rate and things like this, and it's interesting for me to see how these things are being addressed and in what order our society is prioritizing them. So I think that's definitely something I want to look into more in the future. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Abby and Jayden, I want to start with you on this one, what was the experience like having to to work mainly online and did it have an impact on any special projects that you were going to be working on as the - as the - your school career wound up? Abby, you want to go first? 

>>ABBY FULLER: I'm always really interested in finding new ways to learn so, you know, from switching from in - from - I'm sorry, from being, like, in-person classes to online - you know, that wasn't really something that scared me because I really like, you know, finding new ways to learn how to do something. So that there - that was all right with me. You know, I caught on really, really fast. But something that did get taken away from me from project-wise was, for our government classes, we always do - we always get into groups and we come up for campaign campaigns and we're kind of, like, have our own election in the class, and I was really looking forward to doing that. We had already started it, but we obviously didn't get very far with it. But I was really looking forward to doing that and I'm really upset that we didn't get to finish that project. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Are you interested in politics? 

>>ABBY FULLER: Not really. I mean, it was just - it was fun to do, you know, with my classmates, but it's definitely not something that I was really interested in, it was just... 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: You're not going to run for anything anytime soon. 

>>ABBY FULLER: ...No, definitely not. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. All right. Jayden? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: It definitely messed with how I do schoolwork a lot. I'm more of a hands-on learner and I find it harder to motivate myself when I'm not in a group setting or I'm not working in an area where I can focus work more. Because when I'm at home, I feel like there's more distractions and it's harder to motivate myself. And it's - that I have teachers at my school that actually were very helpful and actually helping me plan a future out. A former government teacher of mine was always very supportive of me and I loved talking to him during the days, and so that partly was what made my day, and so not being able to see him every day kind of brings down my motivation. He got me into politics and I talk a lot with him and not seeing him and talking about these things - I don't know, it just kind of affected how school work is for me. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Let's stick with that theme of teachers and I'll let Trent and Grace start on this, but I'd like to hear from all four of you. You know, one of the things that happened while parents were trying to teach their kids from home and while, you know, there was a lot more learning going on, you know, at - in the living room is I think people got a better understanding of what teachers do and perhaps maybe had a little more appreciation for teachers, and I want to give each of you a chance to talk about, you know, your relationships with teachers. What makes a great teacher today? And did you did you have any great teachers? Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah, for me, I definitely learned from this that, like, teach - I need a teacher to, like, kind of learn better - I mean, for me, a teacher is just very important if they can, like, be - it's like their dependability. Like, you won't always need a teacher to, like, answer a question, but the fact that they're there and they're always willing and ready to help and they want to build that, like, almost personal relationship with you while you're trying to learn - I think that's, like, what's really special in a lot of teachers. And during this time, like, a lot of my teachers - they definitely tried as hard as they could to keep that personal connection. Like, they would make videos with walkthroughs and everything and have meetings every week. And it was just - it was cool to see that they were trying their best during this difficult time and I really appreciated that. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Grace? 

>>GRACE WANG: For me, I think what makes a really good teacher is a teacher who's both sort of knowledgeable and passionate about the subject they teach. So when I can kind of feel that when I go into their classroom, I really appreciate that. And I've been lucky to have so many teachers who are passionate like that and who have made me passionate about their topics. So I'm really grateful for all my teachers, especially during these last few years of high school. They've really shaped me into the student I am and gotten me interested in these fields that I never thought that I would maybe have an interest in, but they've really sort of sparked that in me. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So name one field that you didn't think you'd be interested in that you wound up actually enjoying the class. 

>>GRACE WANG: History is a really big example for me. So I came into high school not really interested in the realm of social sciences at all. I had never really been a passionate social studies student even though I was kind of into maybe government or political sciences, but never really history. And then I took - my first AP course actually was AP European History, and shout out to Mr. Hillenburg if he's listening, but that - he was so passionate and knowledgeable about all of this and I really learned about all these social movements and art and how it affects culture and things like that. And since then, I've just - I've loved history. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Abby? 

>>ABBY FULLER: This has definitely taught me that, you know, teachers deserve way more credit than they do get. I mean, these teachers have went above and beyond to make sure that all of the students are getting the help they need. And if they have questions, that they are there to answer them. And they'll stay up until midnight trying to help, you know, one of their students write a paper or finish a project. But I've definitely had some teachers that have always been there for me who have helped me through so much, and without them I definitely don't think I'd be the person who I am today. You know, a lot of our teachers would have weekly one-on-one meetings with all their students, you know, just to make sure they're, not exactly to help in the schoolwork but, you know, just to be there and to be a friend and make sure that they're doing OK. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Jayden? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I think what makes a great teacher is someone who's willing to understand what a student is going through. I had some teachers who understood the stress that a student would go through, and they wouldn't exactly, like, cut corners for them, but that - they were there to support them and help them through whatever they were going through. I had teachers who helped me a lot during stressful times in my life during high school, who were there to support me to answer any questions I had, who were willing to stay after and help me with class, and then just were always around - all around very supportive of me. And then also being able to just, like, connect with your students more. Like, I - on sort of a personal level during class, I had a government teacher who would always call me Miss Rodriguez no matter, like, where he saw me I saw him. When I graduated the other day, and he said, hi, Miss Rodriguez - and like with the biggest smile on his face and it absolutely made my day. Like, just when teachers do stuff like that, I think it really helps them connect with their students and helps get their students going on a better path. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So I like to ask this question every year but, you know, again, with the four of you, I want to know, you know, what - what do adults - what do people like - you know, people who are in my age bracket or Sara's age bracket - Sara is considerably younger than me - what do we not understand? What should we know about the class of 2020 - people in your age group - the people who are graduating from high school this year? Anybody can start. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I think a big thing to understand is that times have changed and what may have been a struggle when, like, someone like my mom was a teenager - struggles have changed from what they were. And so, you know, maybe that might be economically, maybe it just might be - like, there - one example is like, say, bullying. Maybe there wasn't really social media bullying or anything like that. And in our age group, there definitely is and sometimes stuff like that is hard to escape and it's not sometimes so easy as, like, just turning off the computer. I've heard that comment a lot throughout high school. It's just - things like that have changed, and it's hard to explain it, but you just need to understand that things like that have changed and it's harder to get away from, especially with mental health - things like that have changed. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. That was Jayden. So who wants to go next. Grace? 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah, sure. I definitely agree that one thing that adults should know is that times have changed and we're kind of growing up in this world that's maybe a little bit more industrialized or kind of - it's speeding up in terms of what we have to do and when we do them, and maybe there's not more pressure, but different pressures now. But I also think something that adults should know is that we're kind of adults too. Like, we're not - maybe not to that level where we have the world figured out or where we can maybe do everything for ourselves, but I think we're getting there. And I hope that adults can just also see us not as maybe high schoolers traditionally but, like, we can be mature enough to understand things and to adapt to things as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah. I think it's clear that adults don't have everything figured out either, so - Abby? 

>>ABBY FULLER: Yeah, definitely times have changed. You know, I have a lot of family members that are - family members that are like, oh, when I was your age, if I wanted to, you know, look up information, I had to go through all kinds of books and you have it so easy. Like, you have technology. But times have changed. We have different resources now. And I don't think that - you know, some of them might not realize it but, you know - I think that one thing that they don't realize is, you know, things are always changing and when we have kids, you know, we're going to be like, oh, well, we just looked it up on the Internet and they're going to be like, oh, well, we just had it - I don't know, but I just think something they don't understand is time is changing and that it's not going to be like how it was when they were our age. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah, I definitely agree that times are changing and, like, a lot of times parents will, like - they like to worry and they - they're like, I don't know if they're ready or whatever for, like, the real world. But I think something that 2020 especially can, like, keep in their back pocket is, like, we were seniors during this pandemic and we had a big change to, like, one of the most, like, significant years in our lives and we've been able to, like, get through it and, like, almost thrive in a way, and I think it just shows, like, kind of our class's resilience and that, like, we'll be able to get through whatever life throws at us in the future. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So let's talk more about technology. I mean, how is that making your life better - and then as Jane said, there's - there are bullying issues - that maybe in some ways the technologies available to people are causing some harm. So how is it making your lives better and what are the issues that we should be looking out for? And Jayden, I'll let you start since you sort of started this conversation. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Technology is giving us more access to things. It's definitely making life easier in a lot of ways. Like, with school, honestly, it's - having technology - like, my school provides Chromebooks and laptops and stuff. That definitely has made school easier. And because kids you might not have access to laptops and stuff - more access to the school work they need to get done and helps move things along. But it also raises issues of bullying - like I said earlier, bullying stuff. I've had friends who became targets of bullying. I've had friends who've had their pictures stolen and then used for other accounts and stuff. It's just created a lot of issues like that. Typically, with my age group that I've seen, I've been the victim of bullying before, and it's online and it's kind of stressful. And it doesn't matter how many times I turn off my phone or turn off my laptop, it's still an issue that I have to deal with. And it's causing a lot of - it's caused a lot of mental health issues from my friends that I've seen. So while technology can - is very helpful, especially with this age group and what we're going through right now with COVID, it also raises a lot of issues like that that make it hard to combat. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Grace? 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah, I would agree that definitely technology is really important right now and I think it's given me a lot of opportunity personally from not only this coronavirus situation, where all of our learning is online - I can't even imagine, if this had happened, like, 15 - 20 years ago, where - what we would have done then in terms of going to school and staying connected to our friends. So technology has really been helpful for me in that realm. Also since I'm so passionate about creative writing, sometimes resources in this area can be maybe a little bit scarce where I'm from. We don't really have that many creative writing classes in school. So something I've found really helpful is finding these seminars that are online. So I've done a few kind of online writing things over the past few summers, which have really helped me both develop my skills as a writer and also just be more prepared for kind of these online courses as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. I think Abby. Let's go with Abby. 

>>ABBY FULLER: I mean, I definitely agree, without technology right now, it'd be super hard to do our schoolwork and to communicate. But a negative, you know, part of technology is, you know, growing up, like, going to the doctors or the eye doctor - they're always, like, get off your phone, go outside, don't watch TV too much. And now, I mean, I'm on my computer eight hours a day doing work and it's just - honestly, I think technology could be a negative - something negative to, you know, our community. Because growing up, you know, like I said, you know, that was something that doctors didn't want us to be on. They didn't want us to watch, you know, TV or be on the computer or play games on our iPad or something. And now, you know, people are looking at a computer screen all day long. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah. Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah. I mean, I definitely think technology has been overall beneficial for everyone, but it comes with this, like, expectation of, like, being responsible with the technology and this brings back in, like, the bullying situation. Like, if you're given this technology, you're, like, expected to be responsible on it and, like, it's - it needs to be monitored, like, how people are using it as well. Like, a lot of families - like, they need to be more involved with their kids on, like, technology because of times it's like - you know, like, kids can be seeing, like, stuff they shouldn't be and, like - and then - and, like, they can be doing things that they shouldn't be doing on their technology. So it just adds a whole level of, like, freedom that needs to be monitored. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So we have about 12 minutes to go in the program. If anybody has a question that you want to send in, news@indianapublicmedia.org or you can also find us on Twitter at @noonedition. You will be talking with Trent Kirby from Bloomington High School South, Jayden Rodriguez from Franklin Central High School, Grace Wang from Columbus North High School, and Abby Fuller from Eastern Greene high school. We're talking to them about what's going on with their senior class who has had a different experience than any senior class before them in our area. Sara? 

>>SARA WITTMEYER: How are you all celebrating graduation given social distancing rules and everything? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Bloomington South is doing an online, like, graduation, like, kind of slideshow almost. It's like - they're making a video. And then in July, we're doing, like, an optional - like, you can walk across the stage and, like, get pictures. But, like, it's all social distancing, like - because obviously it's hard to coordinate that kind of thing with, like, all these people, so... 

>>GRACE WANG: At Eastern, all the seniors - we put together, like, a minute-long video and tomorrow, which was our original graduation date, they're going to release it and they're going to put it all together and it's just going to, like, be something that we can experience on our actual graduation day - you know, something that - and we're all going to get copies of it to have. So we'll always have it with us. And then, in July, we have a graduation ceremony planned but we're still, you know, playing it day-to-day to see how things turn out. 

>>GRACE WANG: For Columbus North, one of the things that we're doing is actually when we go to return our books - so it's May 26, 27, and 28 I think. As we go to return all of our textbooks and things, they're going to have us wear our graduation gowns, and then we can get our diplomas and get pictures during that time. And on May 30th, we also have sort of a graduation video that will be streamed during when graduation would have been. And I was really lucky to - I was able to give a speech at graduation, so a few - I think just last week actually I went in to my school with social distancing and we filmed this video for graduation. So that was a really interesting thing to be a part of. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: At Franklin Central what we did is everyone was able to walk across the stage with their diploma. So when we went and dropped off our textbooks, we wore our cap and gowns, and then we got our diploma from a table and we walked across the stage and we got to take a professional picture in front of the school little setup they had, and then we also did the Adopt a Senior. And some people are talking about doing a seniors parade throughout Franklin Township, where everyone, like, paints their cars and the seniors get to stick their heads out the windows and drive around the township. 

>>SARA WITTMEYER: Yeah. I'm curious about, with your family and friends, if you had graduation parties planned. What about those kind of things? Trent, you want to start? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: I think I am still having one at some point, but obviously with the restrictions right now I'm not sure when that's going to happen. But we're still hopeful that I can have a party at some point. 

>>ABBY FULLER: Yeah, I was like - oh, go ahead. 

>>GRACE WANG: All right. No, you go first. 

>>ABBY FULLER: All right. I originally had a party scheduled for next weekend, but we've obviously had to cancel it. But we're definitely looking into having, you know, some type of graduation party for me, you know, later July or in early August. So I'm really hoping that I'll still get to celebrate with my friends and my family. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah. For me, we didn't have anything planned yet just because of all this coronavirus stuff that was going on, but hopefully I can have some sort of celebration, maybe in the summertime before I go off to college. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: My family was planning on having a graduation/going away party June 7th right before I left. Seeing as that can no longer happen due to restrictions, we're hoping that once I come back, which should be around Christmas, we can have some sort of celebration. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. So I want to ask you - we're going to switch gears a little bit. We mentioned politics briefly. We're not going to talk about it much, but I just want to know - it's an election year, are all - which ones - which one of you is going to vote? Anybody planning on voting? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I am. 

>>ABBY FULLER: I am. 

>>GRACE WANG: I am too. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: That's three. Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: I'm not sure. 

(LAUGHTER) 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: What will go into - what will decide - what will be the decider, Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: At this point, it'll be of - like, how confident I am that I know, like, what my opinions are. Like, I obviously have, like, some stuff but, like, I definitely need to like be sure that I'm making the right decision because, like, I personally am - I'm not a huge guy in politics. I'm not into that stuff as much so far. But I know it's important so, like, I definitely will try to, like, look into it more and, like, get, like - I want to vote if I can - if I feel, like, confident about it. But... 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. All right. Well, for the other three of you, what - what's the - is there a key issue that you're going to be paying attention to, either on the national or state or local level? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I think my main thing is how they're going to handle this going forward. Like, whenever the new president comes into office, like, how are they going to handle the aftermath of COVID. What's their game plan for this? 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Like, what are they planning to do? 

>>ABBY FULLER: Yeah, I definitely agree with her. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK, great. 

>>GRACE WANG: Yeah, I think that's a deciding factor for me as well. Also I just - there's no really issue in particular for me right now, but just - I want to vote for a candidate who at least has some semblance to my values or is leaning towards the same way that I do on most things. So I think that's the way I'm going to vote. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. So in our last five minutes or so, I want to ask each one of you to talk about - I've got two questions. So first question is what are you most concerned about about your next - the next phase of your life? Because you're doing different stuff. So what's the biggest worry as you go into the next phase, from - once go from high school to what you have planned next. And Abby, let me ask you that. 

>>ABBY FULLER: Mine's definitely, you know, if I can actually, you know, start. I mean, I'll definitely be doing hands-on things and, you know, if things don't start cleaning up - clearing up, I won't be able to go to school. I'm going to have to find a new plan and I'm just - I'm really scared that I'm going to have to find something else to do for a while. But I'm really hoping that things do get better and I'll be able to go to school like I have planned and I hope that I can achieve my goals for the - my life after college - or after high school. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Well, yeah, let me ask a second question of you then first. What are you looking forward to the most? 

>>ABBY FULLER: Probably just new experiences, meeting new people. I - that's something that I really enjoy is meeting new people - you know, learning from, you know, things that they've done, you know, where they came from. But mine's just getting new experiences and learning from them. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Grace? 

>>GRACE WANG: For me - so something that I'm kind of worried about, like Abby said, is whether or not I'll be able to start in-person in the fall with my further studies. But also since - if I am able to, one thing I'm kind of maybe a little bit hesitant of is just adjusting to my kind of new living style because I will be - I'll have to move to Massachusetts, away from most of my - all of my family, actually, and just kind of adjusting to maybe a more rigorous academic world than what I'm used to and balancing extracurriculars and social life and things like that as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And what are you looking forward to the most? 

>>GRACE WANG: I'm looking forward also - it's kind of the same thing. I'm looking forward to just going somewhere new and having this new experience and also getting to study at an institution with all these really great minds who have done so many things and just having that opportunity. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Jayden? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I think it's - biggest (unintelligible) of mind was just being mentally prepared to, like, adapt even more to changing from, like, my everyday life - like, just here with family and going to school and everything, to then changing to having everything being just - I don't even know what's going to happen at basic training and just being mentally prepared for everything that's going to change and what they're going to throw at me and what I'm going to have to adapt to and just be ready for. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And your - what are you looking forward to the most? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I'm looking really forward though for - to get pushed. To get pushed to, like - to see what I can actually do. To - just to see what my limitations are. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Trent? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Personally, I think my biggest worry would probably be, like - like, short-term, like, if we're going - if we're not going to be, like, in classes in the fall - like, if that'll be, like, enough to, like, get me ready to, like, learning at the college level. Like, if the online experience will, like, actually be enough for me to actually, like, get something out of it. And long term I think my biggest worry is, like, if I - like, picking my major because, like, I just want to make sure that I'm doing the right thing and, like, what's in the best interest for me based on, like, what, like, I'm good at and - so, yeah, I mean, there's a lot of like uncertainty in the future when it comes to that. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Sara? Oh, I thought Sarah had a question for you at the end. OK. So, Trent, you've been following IU's announcements. So when do y'all expect to know or hope to know, you know, exactly what you're going to be doing? Probably tomorrow, right? 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah? I mean, at this point, we're hoping for something maybe in July, but at this point I don't know if anyone is sure, like, what the plan's going to be for the future - near future. So, I mean, yeah, we're just patiently waiting to see what they say. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Jayden, you have probably more idea than the other folks, right? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: A little bit, yeah. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah. OK. Grace, does - has Harvard made any indication when they're going to know? 

>>GRACE WANG: They have said that school will be open in the fall. Whether that means online or in-person, they're not sure yet. School's set to start August 26, so I hope they'll give us at least, like, a month's notice. So maybe sometime in July we'll find out. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. And Abby, how about you? 

>>ABBY FULLER: I'm supposed to have a meeting here in a few weeks with one of the ladies in the admissions office to, you know, to figure out if we're going to be doing an in-person classes or if it's going to be online, but right now they're still leaning towards online. But I'm hoping soon we'll be able to go back to normal. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. We're really out of time. If any of you have one last thing you want to say that you were dying to say today but didn't get it through, now's the time. 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: I just, like - oh, sorry, you can go first. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Go ahead. 

>>GRACE WANG: I was just going to say thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed talking to everyone. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Oh, sure, Grace. Thank you. Jayden? 

>>JAYDEN RODRIGUEZ: Thank you for having me on here. It was a great opportunity. And also I'd like just to thank my recruiter for giving me the chance to do this as well and for picking me to do this. He's really been extremely supportive and helpful to this whole process. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. Thank you, Jayden. Trent? Abby? No need? OK, go ahead. Go ahead, Abby. 

>>ABBY FULLER: I just want to say, yeah, just thank you for having me. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: You did very well. And Trent, thank you. I'm not going to put you through that though because we're out of time. Go ahead, Trent. 

>>TRENT KIRBY: Yeah. Just thanks for the opportunity. And, I mean, it was really cool getting to hear from other seniors and, like, hearing about their experiences and just being able to, like, share my story. So just thanks for that outlet. I mean, it's really awesome. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right? Thanks a lot to Trent Kirby, Jayden Rodriguez, Grace Wang and Abby Fuller. For Sara Wittmeyer, producers Benthe Bouthier, Kathy Knapp and John Bailey, and engineers Mike - Matt Stonecipher and Mike Paskash, I'm Bob Zaltsberg Thanks for listening. 

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>>UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: NOON EDITION is a production of WFIU public radio. A podcast of this program is available at wfiu.org. Production support for NOON EDITION comes from Smithville - fiber internet, streaming TV, home security and automation in southern Indiana. More information at smithville.com. And from the Bloomington Health Foundation - partnering with local organizations and citizens to invest in programs that address our community's health needs. Bloomington Health Foundation - improving health and well-being takes a community. More at bloomhf.org. 

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graduation

(Alisha Referda/Flickr)

Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.

Each spring, we invite graduating high school seniors to come on Noon Edition to talk about their experiences and give us some insight into what their lives might look like after leaving the high school hallways.

This year's class of students graduating high school is unique, as they finished their courses online and traditional graduation ceremonies were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

Spring sports events and social activities like prom were cancelled.

On this week's show, we'll be joined by high school seniors from Bloomington and the surrounding areas who will talk about their experiences, plans moving forward, and what it's been like to finish up their time in high school during a pandemic.

They have varying career and educational goals, but all of them have plans, which vary from vocational school to attending college or university.

Join us this week as we talk about high school seniors' plans after graduation.

You can follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition or join us on the air by calling in at 812-855-0811 or toll-free at 1-877-285-9348. You can also send us questions for the show at news@indianapublicmedia.org.

Note-This week of our guests and hosts will participate remotely to avoid risk of spreading infection. Because of this we will not be able to take callers live on-air.

Our Guests

Trent Kirby, Bloomington High School South

Jayden Rodriguez, Franklin Central High School

Grace Wang, Columbus North High School

Abby Fuller, Eastern Greene High School

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