Summer 2021: Hitting the refresh button

With daylight hours stretching far into the evening, school on the back burner and plenty of time for get–togethers with family and friends, summer vacation is a beloved time of year for many.

Summer of 2020 took place in the early stages of quarantine when almost everyone had to cancel plans and spend a vast majority of their time indoors to stay safe. Now, although COVID–19 precautions are still very much in place, vaccine distributions have opened some doors for the summer of 2021, regarding travel, events and opportunities.

“I want to go to my dad’s house in Arizona for Father’s Day because I haven’t been there since February of 2020,” said Emmy KeipertMcCann ‘21. “My whole dad’s side of the family is there.”

Along with plans to go to Arizona to visit family, Keipert–McCann has another major aspect of her break that many members of the Class of 2021 also share — getting ready for her first year away from home.

“I’m mainly just preparing for college [this summer] since I’m moving across the country to New York,” said Keipert–McCann. “[I’m going to] Ithaca college.”

Keipert–McCann plans to leave for college in mid–August. Until then, she intends to spend time with family as well as crochet, which is one of her favorite at–home activities. 

“I’m very excited for [this summer] because it’s my last summer before college,” said Keipert–McCann. “[I’m excited to] be done with high school and have a new start.”

While a majority of the class of 2021 plans to get started with their college experience, WHS students returning for the 2021–2022 school year also have academic opportunities available to them over the next couple of months.

“I’m doing P.E. over the summer so that I can take an extra course next year,” said Aydin Birkan ‘24. “I’m doing both semesters, so I’ll be doing six weeks, [and then] I’ll be done with P.E. for [all of] high school.”

Students can take either three or six–week classes through the Conejo Valley Get Ahead program. Many students take a summer class to alleviate stress for the upcoming school year, to free up an elective spot or to simply get ahead in a subject.

Since his class only goes from June to July, Birkan has plenty of other plans to keep him busy throughout the rest of summer break.

“I play Magic: The Gathering, which is a card game, [and] there’s a card store where I’ll go play with other people,” said Birkan. “The way I like to describe Magic is that it’s like chess, but there [are]16,000 different pieces.”

Although Birkan has many hobbies that can be done at home or in a small community, such as Magic: The Gathering and video games, he also hopes to travel this summer and see some people he hasn’t seen in a while.

“We’re probably going to spend a week or two in Davis, which is where I moved here from,” said Birkan. “I have a ton of friends in Davis so it would be great to go visit them over the summer.”

A major aspect of daily life that so many people missed throughout the COVID–19 pandemic was seeing family and friends. Now that travel restrictions are lighter, many families plan to visit people over break who they may not have seen since the pandemic began. 

“Compared to last summer I’m going to be traveling a lot more,” said Birkan. “My family always [goes on] trips during the summer and last summer we didn’t get to do that, so it’s super exciting to have the opportunity now.”

Plenty of WHS students plan to travel now that it is more accessible and a lot of families feel more comfortable with visiting others. However, some students still plan to spend most of the summer at home.

“I hope to write a lot more music this summer,” said Sanjana Chandrasekar ‘22. “I started writing as a quarantine thing, but I’m taking it seriously now.” 

Chandrasekar plans to spend quite a bit of her break further building her music education — whether it be songwriting or singing in choir.

“I’m in both Vocal [Ensemble] and ACA [A Class Act],” said Chandrasekar. “I’m pretty sure [as] compared to last year, we’re going to have a lot more events and practices over the summer, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Participation in school activities provides opportunities for WHS students to take part in over break. Chandrasekar also hopes to plan some events and drives for the WHS club, Periods With Pride, as the youth director. Being able to meet in–person again with various WHS organizations will hopefully be a fun pastime for many students during the next couple of months.

“This year for me was especially hard because I couldn’t see a lot of my friends, which led to talking to  [fewer] people that [I] usually talk to,” said Chandrasekar. “I haven’t been able to go and meet new people a lot, and I would love to do that soon.”

CVUSD’s 2021 summer vacation begins on June 11 and ends on August 18. Now that COVID–19 cases have gone down and more opportunities are available as opposed to last year’s break, WHS students, such as Keipert–McCann, Birkan and Chandrasekar, plan to take advantage of all the fun things going on during the summer of 2021.

“Because more people are getting vaccinated,” said Chandrasekar, “I feel like it’s going to open up a whole new door of events again.”

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