It wasn’t the high school experience Adelaide Pleasant had imagined. She’s a freshman at North Thurston High School, and like her classmates, attends all her classes from home. Instead of heading to school to hang out with friends, change rooms between classes and go to assemblies, she sees peers and teachers remotely from her workspace at home. One benefit is the commute. “I wake up, move over to the other room and get started,” says Addy.
Addy’s first class on Monday morning starts at 8:55 a.m., which means during this time of year she can get up when it’s not totally dark outside. When our younger son was at NTHS, class started at 7:25 a.m. – and that was in your seat at the building. The later start time is probably better suited to teens whose circadian rhythms tend to later bedtimes. Addy gets up with adequate time for breakfast. Her mom, Deidre Pleasant, a social studies coach for teachers at NTPS, has been getting creative with sour dough. This pleases Addy, who notes her waffles are excellent. Other days breakfast is satisfied with a banana and a granola bar or an egg sandwich. On advisory days, she clicks in a little earlier at 8:20 a.m.
Her ”school room” is upstairs in a separate space from Addy’s bedroom, which she appreciates. Mom, who also works remotely, has an office downstairs. They had originally considered sharing a space, but that’s not an easy thing to manage. Mike Pleasant, Addy’s dad, is a ferry boat captain for the Department of Corrections. Some of his time off is during the week. The Pleasant house is compact, so they are fortunate to have individual areas. “We don’t have a lot of alone time, which gets old sometimes,” says Addy, acknowledging one of the issues families now have in common.
Monday and Wednesday mornings are for her first three classes and the other three happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Live classes end at 11:30 a.m. when it’s time for lunch and a break. Fridays are workdays and also when it is possible to meet individually with a teacher. Usually, Addy works on assignments until mid-afternoon when it’s time to go to swim practice. She’s a life-long swimmer.
COVID initially halted the swimming. “It was nice being able to go back to swim,” says Addy, adding, “I didn’t know how much I missed it!” Her schedule varies, but she usually is at the pool four times a week. She swims with the Thurston Olympians Swim Club, a competitive program that develops camaraderie, encourages physical fitness, and healthful nutrition for all ability levels. Addy is on the swim team at North Thurston, although currently the program is not in session. They meet via Zoom and hope to resume practice in the spring.
When she’s not in the pool, Addy likes to rummage through the bins at Goodwill. “It’s fun to alter something so I can wear it,” she says. She also has found a way to make a little money by selling clothing she has outgrown or no longer wears by using Depop, an online venue to buy, sell and discover new fashions. She also likes to listen to audio books. Recently she finished Aimee Bender’s “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,” which is available from the Timberland Regional Library.
Another member of the Pleasant family is George Bailey, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. After hearing about the toller from a friend on the bus (olden days of school), Addy did her research for a family dog. There’re certainly two sides to getting this particular breed of dog.
Certain of her choice, she agreed to pay for half of the cost of the dog. George, a beautiful animal, loves having family at home. I often see him being taken on walks around the neighborhood I share with the Pleasant family.
Addy’s energy for activity this spring endeared her to her cul-de-sac neighbors, many retired and all staying close to home. Addy engineered the Quarantine Olympics, where every afternoon we gathered safely outside to compete in hilarious activities. There was egg tossing, whipped cream catching, bean bag tossing, hula-hoop rolling and other laugh-inducing shenanigans to lift our spirits. We all appreciated Addy’s youth and willingness to engage us in fun, healthy ways.
Addy looks to the future. “Hybrid school would be cool,” she says, while hoping that full time attendance is not to too far away. In the meantime, she keeps in touch with her best friend and spends time with her parents in the evenings watching a show or doing a jigsaw puzzle. We are all making our way through these challenging times one lap at a time.