Quarantine Diaries

"Quarantine Diaries" Share Reflections on Tough Times
Posted on 05/11/2021
Quarantine Diaries Book
A year-long quarantine stirred up a lot of emotions. Ninth-graders in the GEAR UP college readiness program at Glencliff High School poured them out on the pages of a new book.

The Quarantine Diaries of Glencliff High School,” which the students saw for the first time during a “release day” party at school this morning, shares poetry, reflections, and artwork from the Class of 2024.

“You’re participants in and creators of a unique historical moment,” ninth-grade counselor Hannah Baker told the group of students who were either seated in front of her or tuning in virtually. “You’re the only 9th-graders at Glencliff who ever started high school in a pandemic.”

Students said it was important to have a chance to share their experiences from a time when COVID-19 kept them out of school and almost exclusively at home.

“It was hard for us to actually find a way to be connected,” said Yasmin Castillo, a member of the student editorial board for the project. “Through the book, we wound up finding that place.”

“Quarantine Diaries” is full of moving moments. In a poem called “Trapped in Quarantine,” Marjorie Alvarado compares herself to a goldfish in its bowl, asking, “What is life outside like again?”

Brianna Key writes of the early days of quarantine with her family, “it all felt like I was living in a fantasy.”

Next to a drawing of a coronavirus, Elmer Barrera Paz writes, “It affected me that I couldn’t hug anyone.”

Student Karen Hernandez, another member of the editorial board, writes about the social anxiety and introversion she started feeling when “Everyday felt the same, wake up, class, homework, stressing, less than 7 hours of sleep / Quarantine had let me be with my thoughts for too long, and I needed to find ways to cope with that.”

“I’m still working on it,” Karen said of her anxiety in an interview at the end of the book release party. “Just being able to come back in school was very exciting, because it felt like I was finally able to break down a wall.”

In a note at the start of the book, the editorial board members said they wanted to convey a simple, important message: “You are not alone. These are hard times for everyone.”

"Living and learning in a global pandemic is such a strange time to learn and be,” said Harold Burdette, who works with GEAR UP, a college readiness program for 8th- and 9th-graders at 16 MNPS middle and high schools who would be first-generation college students. “This is why we started the ‘Quarantine Diaries.’ ”
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