WJ students share their in-person school experience

More stories from Maeve Sanford-Kelly


Students Olivia Herman, Sabrina Levri and Phillip Papadopulos sit outside on the bleachers during lunch. The bleachers are one of the options for places to sit during lunch. Students are expecting to sit six feet apart from one another on spots designated with tape.

As of the last week of April, every WJ student who requested to return to school had the opportunity to do so. Students are split between alternating weeks dubbed the “Wildcats” and the “Mighty Moos.” For many students who returned, in-person school has been an exciting opportunity to rekindle relationships with peers and teachers but an eerie reminder about how things still aren’t back to normal.

Junior Phillip Papadopulos attended his first day of in-person school on April 26 and had mixed reviews

“It’s exactly what I thought it would be. Not exactly what I wanted it to be but it met my expectations and I’d call it a net positive. I like being able to see my friends and not just through a screen but it feels very quiet and empty,” Papadopulos said.

For upperclassmen, attending in-person school has allowed for some sense of a return to normalcy but for freshmen, it’s their first experience at Walter Johnson. Although their freshman year has been anything but conventional, they have still had some of the same challenges as new students of the past.

“The adjustment has, for the most part, been pretty easy but not without the difficulties of finding classes for the first time and stuff like that,” freshman Anthony Levri said.

Levri, like Papadopulos, has loved getting to be with his friends and teachers again.

“I like in-person because it’s easier to learn and get help when I need it. It’s also fun to be able to be sociable and play sports,” Levri said.

Junior Marissa Krantz had not wanted to return to school but did so at the behest of her parents. She found herself pleasantly surprised.

“Unfortunately, my parents did the right thing and I will be returning for the rest of the year as it not only exceeded my expectation, but it was quite enjoyable. I liked actually being able to have discussions with my classmates. Being in person is much less awkward than talking to yourself in a breakout room,” Krantz said.

Just like Papadopulos, Levri and Krantz, most students who returned in person have expressed an appreciation for the interaction they get to have in the classroom with teachers and classmates even if hybrid learning isn’t quite the same as traditional school.

For next year though, many students are eager to return to a mostly normal WJ.

“I am taking a bunch of classes I am really excited for, and would get the most out of them being in person. Hopefully most people will be vaccinated which will make me feel more comfortable. It will be my senior year so I would like it to be as normal as possible,” Krantz said.