Eye On KELOLAND: Another school year in the books


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Another school year in the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to a close. Students and teachers at the Rapid City District are now reflecting on all the challenges and hardships they faced and the lessons learned along the way.

For seniors like Conner Knudsen, the last few weeks of school feel a little different.

“We have about, I think they said, about 6 days left in each class left. Which is pretty crazy when you’ve been going to school for the last 12 years of your life,” Knudsen said.

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, brought many changes for students like mask requirements, school closures, and limited capacity.

“I wish there could’ve been more people at the games and prom was awesome that we actually got to have that unlike last year. But yeah if more people could’ve been out it would’ve been a lot better but we did get to adapt and overcome and really be creative and go around the norm, I suppose,” Knudsen said.

Another challenge students face is mental health. Knudsen says he’s grateful the community has become more aware of this issue.

“Personally, I’m a pretty happy guy I like to say but there’s times when things get hard, you’re just a little overwhelmed with how much school you have or plans for the future and you’re not sure what you want to do and you just have to take a step back and know it’s going to be okay,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen says there are also great things he can take with him as he continues his education towards journalism.

“I’m really excited to be able to get out and go do things that I’d like to do on my own,” Knudsen said.

Senior Samantha Mueller, has big plans ahead of her as well.

“I’m actually attending Grand Canyon University in Pheonix, Arizona, and I’m going to be an accounting major so I actually want to go into the FBI and be an FBI accountant,” Mueller said.

Mueller says the last two years in the global pandemic taught her a lot.

“It’s definitely crazy to go back and think about all of that. Like we had to learn ourselves if we were in quarantine or if we had COVID, now we can miss a few days and you would know how to teach yourself and you learned how to teach yourself,” Mueller said.

Teachers in the Rapid City School District have also gone through major challenges during the crazy school year. With school closures, getting students caught up in class, and not being able to see each others’ faces.

“I will tell you, it’s been a long year, it really has. It has been exhausting for everybody but I think knowing that we’ve all made it through together has made it better,” Dame said.

But teacher Jennifer Dame, says she is looking forward to getting back to a 5-day school week and no mask requirement.

“If you have freshman and you get them back, it’ll be like meeting new people all over again because you didn’t get to see them the first time,” Dame said.

Rapid City seniors will be graduating on May 30th. The ceremony will be held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

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