‘I missed seeing my friends’: Wilson High students return to campus

Masked students at Wilson High School were greeted by a drum line and cheerleaders dancing, cheering and waving pom-poms welcoming students as they walked into the building.

Many groups of students waited outside before entering the school, visibly thrilled to see each other again. For some, the social aspect of returning to school was the most exciting.

“I missed my friends,” said Wilson Freshman Arturo Nieves, 14.

Others described relief at resuming in-person classes.

“I struggled with online classes,” said Christopher Perez, 17, a senior at Wilson, adding that he looked forward to feeling more confident in his studies with in-person classes back in motion.

Students were all masked, even outdoors in front of the school. Some students described feeling relief about the mask-mandates, others were skeptical that students would follow the rules.

“It’s questionable,” Perez said. “I think we’ll all need time to get used to it.”

Thalia Diaz, 17, a senior, said: “We will just have to see how COVID will affect our lives.”

Most parents dropped off their children from their cars, waving goodbye from the drivers seat and wishing them luck on their first day. For Kimberely Folse it was her twins’ first-day of high school.

Kimberley Folse hugs her kids Demin, center and Dreams, right, as she drops of the two freshmen on the first day of school at Wilson High School in Long Beach Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

“I’m excited because they get to socialize a bit more. And the COVID rules put us more at ease. My kids are fully-vaccinated but I like the mask mandate,” said Kimberely Folse.

Parents Shakira and Montrail Pritchett walked their freshman daughter up to the entrance before saying goodbye.

“She’s more excited than we are,” Shakira Pritchett said. “The only concern we have is that we heard there’s not really any social distancing and the classrooms aren’t that big.”

Her partner, Montrail, said he would have liked to see temperature testing at the door, just as an extra precaution.

Cheerleaders line up to greet students on the first day of school at Wilson High School, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.