Students Make Productive Use of Time While Sheltering in Place

Sophomore Brooke McCullough took up painting while sheltering in place. Pictured is her painting of a balcony in Italy. Photo: goto: Brooke McCullough

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Pace Academy last March, students reluctantly went into shelter at home mode. Separation from friends and school seemed like it would be a solely negative and isolating experience; however, while the isolating aspect is true, Pace students came out of this unexpected time with a vast variety of new skills and habits. From trying out new fitness regimens to learning a new language, Pace Knights demonstrated their resilience under tough circumstances.

For example, freshman George Thompson decided to start mountain biking, a skill he had always wanted to try. Thompson said that he’s also “gotten used to having to wear a mask,” a somewhat annoying but necessary habit that every student can relate to. Senior Robert Houser improved his golf game, he said, and “ran a lot with [his] friends over quarantine” in order to productively utilize his time.

Sophomore Hanna Yilma “got into fitness” and started exercising more. Junior McLean Eagleson started running because she no longer had soccer practice. The overwhelming majority of students said that they started new hobbies due to boredom and the need for something to do while maintaining social distance. 

Senior Rory Flint learned to fly planes over quarantine. “Before I go to college, I would like to have another, more distinguishing major achievement, both for myself and the factors of my future,” he said. “I have been fascinated and involved with aviation for my entire life.” Flint’s dad works in the aviation industry.

“I would have done this regardless of quarantine, and I’m lucky that it does not interfere,” said Flint. “Fortunately, I was not nervous starting out because I have ridden in small four-seat planes many times…Moving freely through the air in a very light aircraft is a unique experience, which makes me feel vulnerable, disciplined, and responsible, and I am proud to be able to operate on my own.” The aircraft Flint trains in is a Cessna 172S, and he added that flying always brings a new challenge to work through, which makes it all worth it. “In the future, I could potentially move on to train for higher levels of aircraft, such as multi-engine and then jets,” Flint said. 

While Pace students excelled in sports while in self-isolation, many pursued arts as well. Sophomore Sara Mazur started knitting over quarantine because she “was bored and had nothing to do.” Similarly, sophomore Brooke McCullough took up painting as her hobby while sheltering at home. She said that she painted multiple pictures of Italian landscapes.

Having already mastered the violin and piano, sophomore Eloise Gaudet learned to play her third instrument, the guitar, because she visited her grandparents who had no WiFi at their house, but they did have a guitar. Gaudet also learned to code with her spare time.

Senior Harley Ryan made great use of the time by learning the Greek language. “I have always been really into Latin, and I want to study Classics in college, so I wanted to get a head start on Ancient Greek before I got to that point,” Ryan said. Ryan took a 40 hour class while at home because his in-person Latin program got cancelled due to COVID-19. “I really wanted to continue my classical studies,” said Ryan.

Both sophomore Marley Venturi and junior Margo Kaye improved their cooking and baking skills when they did not have much else to do. Kaye said that her mom was apprehensive about her going to restaurants but did not always want to cook, so Kaye started cooking more for herself.

Many students also mentioned improving their time management skills during this time, including junior Allison Silverboard. Silverboard also started a small dog walking business because she had so much more time and wanted the exercise. “One of my neighbors reached out to me and said he needed help with walking his dogs,” she said. “I was also pretty bored and had some extra free time. This was definitely rewarding because I was able to exercise while getting to hang out with dogs. It was pretty chill. If anyone is looking for an easy job, I would definitely recommend dog walking.” 

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