The QuaranTeen Life

Dominican Students Embrace Home Learning

Eighth grader Grace Koenig

As new online adventures begin, many students are finding ways creative ways to bring school… home.

No more track practice? That’s not a problem for eighth grader Grace Koenig. Koenig has found that while running around her neighborhood may not come with the same experiences as running around the track, it gets the job done and leaves her feeling a little better about quarantine and home learning.

Koenig has found that home learning allows her to work at her own pace and put more effort into her work; however, it’s not the same as being at Dominican. “I miss working with the teachers in class and eating lunch with my friends,” said Koenig.

Since home learning started, she has learned how to be positive and work around any difficulties she has during online school. Koenig transfers that same mentality into her life.

When she’s not doing schoolwork or exercising on her yoga mat, Koenig enjoys talking to friends over text and facetime, watching Netflix and playing games with her family and pets.

  • Isabelle Fitzmorris
Senior Ally Firmin

Jumping right into the new swing of online learning, senior Ally Firmin has found many new ways to keep herself occupied while quarantined.

From daily walks with her family to sleeping in late, Ally takes advantage of home learning.

“I wake up around ten now. My sister is home from college, and my mom is home. I appreciate the time I spend with family even more,“ said Firmin. 

An avid athlete, Firmin was devastated to learn about an end to softball season.

“I was really upset in the beginning, but my teammates and coaches have been there for me,” said Firmin. “They uplift my spirits and that has definitely helped.”

While there have been new advantages to home learning, Ally realizes how home learning has meant less contact with friends and teachers.

“Not being with classmates and friends is tough,” said Firmin. “However, I try to stay connected with my friends through video calls and texting.”

  • Gloria Thomas
Junior Aria Dody

Junior Aria Dody misses wearing her red sweater every day with her junior class. The experience of social distancing has given Dody a new outlook on life: how much she loves school.

“It has been hard knowing that my cheerleading team won’t get to perform one last time, but it has helped knowing that I am not alone in missing out,” said Dody.

A fun pastime that is getting Dody through is Just Dance. Because the members of her family are avid Just Dancers, they dance at least twice a day. Dody’s favorite dances are any set to the music by One Direction, but her all-time favorite is “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco. In addition to her family’s best pastime, Dody has started to relearn tunes on her guitar as a way to unwind.

Dody has adjusted her prayer schedule to fit in between completing schoolwork, playing Just Dance and strumming on her guitar. She has found different ways to be in the presence of God and shares her faith through her Student Preacher virtual prayers. The prayers come to Dody when she is reading scripture or while sitting and listening to her prayer playlist.

  • Morgan Muscarello
Sophomore Emily Anding

Although sophomore Emily Anding is not able to see her friends every day like she used to, she keeps the connection alive through a screen.

Anding helps cope with missing out on school activities by having online chats with her fellow members of Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action on their usual club days. During their chats, they all discuss ways to adjust to quarantine and how it has been working out for each of them.

Getting accustomed to home learning has been sometimes challenging for this Dominican sophomore. Anding said that when working from home, “I tend to get a little more distracted since I have plenty of free time on my hands.”

It is easy to waste valuable day time by lounging the day away, but Anding had other plans in mind. With all her free time, Anding took on a hobby of crocheting and going on walks to stay active.

  • Lindsey Foles
Freshman Annette Haynie

Spending more time at home has allowed freshman Annette Haynie to explore her passions. As a member of the Liturgical Music Ministers and Drama Club, Annette has been keeping herself busy with her artistic talents.

“I like to listen to music, draw and play piano or sing to take up my time,” she said. Annette enjoys her art classes at school, so continuing her drawings at home has allowed her to keep the creative juices flowing.

One of Annette’s favorite things about quarantine has been sleeping in and having more time to relax in general. “My favorite way to unwind is to put on my headphones and either sit on my porch or go rollerblading,” she said. Annette has truly taken her time away from school and used it as a way to enjoy the things she loves.

  • Olivia Olson
Junior Jordan Taylor

Junior Jordyn Taylor  is no stranger to relaxing during these new QuaranTeen times.

Whether outside sunbathing on the porch or watching Netflix, relaxation after working is a must for Jordyn.

“My favorite way to unwind at home has to be watching my favorite movie, Moana, on Netflix,” said Taylor.

Jordyn says home learning allows her to be more flexible with her time. “I wake up when I want and do my work when I want,” said Taylor.

However, being in the last group of juniors to experience Junior Retreat was a tough miss for Jordyn. “I missed out on reteat, and I have yet to cope with it,” said Taylor. “All of my other classmates got to experience retreat, I didn’t.”

Yet, spending time with family puts a patch on sad misfortunes.

“We go on two walks a day and even play card games,” said Taylor.

  • Gloria Thomas
Eighth Grader Meredith Konochek

Eighth grader Meredith Kononchek tries to find the positives of learning at home. She likes being able to create her own schedule and spend more time with her family, especially her little sister and brother. In fact, her family goes outside and plays baseball together almost every day. Even though she enjoys spending more time with her family, Kononchek misses her extracurricular activities.

“I miss my friends from band, student council and robotics, ” said Konocheck. Even when she is down about missing her friends, Kononchek remembers not to take anything for granted. Home learning has made her appreciate the fact that she attends Dominican and has met so many great people.

Aside from schoolwork, Kononchek has created a new prayer schedule. Every morning, she and her mom watch daily Mass online. She misses attending Mass at St. Pius X with her family and altar serving.

A new skill Kononchek is learning during this social distancing is cooking. Because her parents are also working from home, she is learning how to cook and has started to prepare meals for her family. “Some were definitely better than others,” she said. The best meals she has made so far are spaghetti and meatballs and pulled pork sandwiches. She even learned how to bake a cake.

  • Morgan Muscarello
Senior Emma Fitch

Senior Emma Fitch tries to make the best out of the final days of her senior year at home.

During Fitch’s quarantine, she especially misses her senior activities and spending some of her last days of high school with her friends. Events like senior prom and

To stay active, Fitch does a circuit workout that also doubles as an assignment for Health and PE class. She also walks her dog at least once a day to keep her entertained as well.

One of the struggles she has faced is the difficulty of learning when she cannot communicate with her teachers face to face. Fortunately, having access to messaging her teachers and classmates any time during the day helps when in need of a consult.

Looking at the bright side, Fitch sees this as an opportunity to find your own schedule. Fitch said, “It’s a great preview of college and how much freedom we will have with our time.”

  • Lindsey Foles
Freshman Izzy Tran

Ninth grader Izzy Tran has become a student-turned-teacher during this period of home learning. Because her parents’ work is considered essential, Tran watches her younger brother and teaches him his lessons, while maintaining her own classwork and chores.

Tran misses spending time with her friends and being in a classroom, but this prompted her friend group to find new ways to communicate. Some nights, her friends have virtual trivia nights. Each girl creates questions about herself, and the others answer to see who knows that friend best.

As a way to stay active, Tran has started to bike more, and she attends a virtual dance class during the week. Tran admits that the dance classes are different but still fun and a good way to get active

  • Morgan Muscarello
Junior Coco Ondrusek

Coco Ondrusek has been making the best of her quarantine. As a junior, Coco loves to be involved in robotics, art, and horseback riding. Since her horseback riding lessons have been canceled, she has taken her exercise regime to the park. “For exercise, I run around Audubon Park and work out at home,” she said.  

Coco has stayed productive during this time which has allowed her lots of free time. “I like having school at home so I can have the rest of the day to do whatever I want,” Coco said. “To unwind, I love to work on my art, paint and draw.”

As much as Coco has enjoyed the time to herself, she understands the unfortunate way COVID-19 has impacted the world. An important thing to Coco and her family is remaining prayerful during this troubling time and they say the rosary every night after dinner to pray for everyone affected by COVID-19.

  • Olivia Olson
Eighth Grader Amie Lewis

Now that home learning is the new normal, eighth grader Amie Lewis is spending more time with her brother …and not her human brother.

Learning more day by day, Lewis has taken up sewing as a hobby and is using the Brother JX2517 sewing machine.

“Now more than ever, we need face coverings,” said Lewis. “So, I sewed some face masks for my mom and me.”

Along with picking up a new hobby, Amie says home learning has come with lots of advantages. “I make a schedule that fits to the time I wake up,” said Lewis.

Missing all of her friends and techers, Lewis says focusing is sometimes a disadvantage to working at home.

“I definitely miss seeing all my friends and teachers at school,” said Lewis. “The lack of human contact is hard to adjust to.”

However, to keep her mind off things, Lewis exercises to cheer herself up. “I do a ten minute cardio at home workout and it helps big time,” said Lewis.

  • Gloria Thomas
Freshman Anne Harduoin with her sister, Junior Elizabeth Harduoin

Freshman Anne Harduoin is keeping herself busy during her not-so-busy quarantine life.

Every day, Harduoin tries to wake up around the same time, do her schoolwork and then do leisure activities when she is done. Making sure to wake up before noon and completing all schoolwork before vegging out is key to staying on top of her work.

Even when Harduoin is done with school work, she is often left completely bored and missing practices with her volleyball team. Luckily, her sister, junior Elizabeth Harduoin, is the perfect gal to play volleyball with and help cope with the lack of practice.

During this time of home learning, Harduoin especially appreciates her “teachers and their lessons and the time spent with her friends.” It is times like these when she remembers to never take her access to a great school community for granted.

  • Lindsey Foles