How COVID-19 Affected Us
You can’t travel and you can’t see friends! You miss the hugging and you can’t be close to your friends. But much has happened. The schools have annoying shields. We have to wear our masks making it hard for all of us to breathe. Many students are getting exposed to COVID-19 and students are going online and back to school. We learn life lessons in these times. For example, the teachers learn how to use Google Meets to figure out struggles for online students. We all have something in common: we fix our mistakes and help each other through the struggles. We have each other to help out the teachers who are having a hard time too. This is why we want good friends to hang around with. When you have someone willing to help you in these tough times it helps everyone. We are a good school that welcomes new students with open arms. We want them to feel comfortable in our school. If they feel that they are welcome and make many friends, it will be a good year for them. This is a lot of information, but we have to work together so we can get through this hard time together in COVID-19.
Stay safe Granby!
By Cheyenne Blodgett
Grade 6, GMMS
walking into school
In a complete cluster of people
No masks, no hand sanitizer, no single file
We miss going to our lockers
And running around to our friends in the halls
We miss the rush of the morning excitement
We miss sitting in the corner of the classroom
with a few of our friends
whispering and laughing
hoping the teacher won’t hear because we are supposed to be doing work
We miss when teachers were encouraging us to be “hands on”
Instead of hounding us to stay hunched over
in a seat for ninety minutes
Relying on Google Classroom and other websites to inject knowledge into our brains
It almost feels as though
this non-living thing is taking over our lives
Instead of being kids and being wild and happy and everything else
We are being told to act mature and to be adult like
However, people are telling us to stay kids
“Stop acting like you are sixteen.”
“I need you to be more mature right now.”
We are told to stop trying to squeeze that other friend over at the lunch table
“Grasp your childhood tightly,” they say, but we are also letting it slip away
I guess we are searching for the lost memories with people in school
Maybe we just keep denying
The fact that we are still in search
That are absent in our lives
By Rachel Ehrenwerth
Grade 7, GMMS
The Forgotten Gem of Society’s Past
The world of news is becoming more virtual and online. Now that we are well on our way into 2021, naturally, you would expect that the world would be more technologically advanced, but the pandemic has accelerated the way we receive information. Newspapers have become an ephemeral piece of mail. For most people, it is quickly flipped through, then recycled. Newspapers have turned into the forgotten gem of our society’s past.
The Granby Drummer was established in 1970 and has been an active part of our community for over 50 years. The Drummer’s goal has always been to inform residents of the social and economic highlights in Granby.
How is it that Connecticut’s very own Hartford Courant is the nation’s longest run newspaper, but as a state, there are only 116 local newspapers? COVID-19 has caused a devastating blow to the newspaper industry. Newspapers have disappeared across the nation due to the increase in social media usage. Social media has grown from keeping us connected to others and showing us funny cat videos to telling us about the news and the biggest scandals.
Local newspapers need the public’s help to continue to run. Whether it’s volunteering to help or to raising awareness of the growing demise of newspapers. The only way that community newspapers will withstand the crashing wave of corporate social media is with the help of their loyal readers and supporters.
By Katie O’Neill
Grade 8, GMMS
The pain of friendship
After a point in time you start to fade
The memories of the people you once aid
The food that you would trade
And the memories that you made
They move to different towns and states
Never seeing you again at that one parade
The hours of loneliness duplicate
And in your mind you build a blockade
You hold in your pain until it cascades
Over the side at a growing rate
The time spent together feels fake
Like I’ve left the perfect gate
Of your friendly estate
This is where I feel like
I’ve been crushed by a weight
And the world is now on my shoulders
I still want you as my friend
Grade 7, GMMS
The word “safe” is what we yearned for. Watching through a screen in “class” while nobody spoke but the teacher. We waited days, weeks, months, for the “word” to appear again. It wasn’t until in the darkness of an isolated room, a light burst from your device, “safe.” Only “safe” had a new definition – Masks. Only a few would enter through the glass doors that we once fled through on March 13. Again, we sat at a tiny desk, staring at a screen. “Wash your hands, wipe your desk, go home if you have flu-like symptoms.” A simple cough was an alarm. The classroom was almost empty, as if students disappeared from contact-tracing or getting sick. Your ears sting if the mask is tight, but you can’t take it off. We’re truly lucky, aren’t we? Not sitting around our homes, being isolated from your friends, relatives, but there is a risk. People were dying. People couldn’t go to funerals for their loved ones, we couldn’t celebrate their birthdays. Being around someone who is truly dangerous is scary. You see people close, touching, laughing, having their guards down. Then, they disappear. It still feels like it did before, just a little different. This time was eye-opening for everyone; a time for truth. The truth is that this time will end, everyone will once again return from the darkness and into the light. And a smile will appear on their mask-ridden face.
By Lauren De Los Reyes
Grade 7, GMMS
The Bloody Massacre: The Three Words
“I do not understand, Crispus. What shall we do?” I questioned my brother who rudely ignored my question.
“I only wondered …”
“I know, I do not think we can do anything, Phebe,” Crispus snapped. The night was cold for an early March evening, the stars were bare, and the moon was a shadow behind the clouds. The date was March 4, 1770, when Crispus and I had one of our last conversations.
“I have to get back to my work, Phebe. Taxes are unpleasantly high these days,” my brother said in his silly accent, joking about our taxes that indeed, were nearing un-affordably high.
“The taxes that could leave us in debt, without work, and even homeless!” My voice rose with every word I exclaimed.
“You are right, Phebe. I shall be more serious about this very topic,” Crispus said, obviously not keeping his promise.
This brother of mine is absurd, my mind said, daring me to say the words aloud. The trees around us were large, like mountains. I pictured myself climbing up the mountain tops. My mind wandered, letting go of the taxing discussion. I always adored letting my mind be bold and curious. But sometimes, my brother would beg me to stop because he thought that letting my mind wander was perilous.
“Why must we go back home, brother?” I asked, squinting my eyebrows together with a look of confusion across my face. The blades of grass tucked underneath my boots. The little pebbles of snowflakes piled onto the frosty grass. I could see my breath as I breathe in … then out … in … and out. It was quite satisfying indeed. But even more when Crispus and I did the breathing together. Both of our breaths, at the same time go in … then out … What pleasant times these were.
“I told you, I need to get back to my work, I have already discussed this matter with you two times,” Crispus argued. We stepped out of the woods, therefore ending our little walk in the moonlight and walked another half a mile, or what had felt like such a distance, and our feet landed at our front door step. Our house was small and full of brick. We had a wooden door, like everybody else did. But we decorated it with flowers and leaves, and thought that we would always be happy there.
We were both wrong, it seems like. Crispus and I both reached for the rusty handle to open the door to our humble home.
“You did the honors yesterday,” I teased, and touched the door handle, then placed my palm upon the handle and opened the door.
“Tomorrow I am doing the honors, Phebe,” my brother assured me.
“We shall see about that,” I answered, with the largest smile on my face. My brother sighed, and slunk his shoulders.
The next morning, I awoke. The sun was bright, bright like a lemon on a sunny day.
“These taxes,” I heard a grumble coming from the dining room. My legs hurled off my bed, and rushed into the dining room, searching for an eavesdrop on my brother’s conversation with himself. “This is absurd,” he added.
“Yes, indeed they are,” I replied. My brother jumped with fright, and turned around. I was smiling ear to ear with the startled expression on his face.
“Indeed, they are,” he said, his hands, trembling.
“What do you think about the taxes, brother?” I asked, urging to know more.
“Well, I think ‘tis unfair, Phebe. The fact that we—I need to give away my money that I have earned myself to a British King so many miles away is absurd!” he announced. My head nodded slightly.
“Why must I have to give my money away? Why must I listen?” his fury and confusion arose with every word. This was the last I heard of my dear brother.
The sun had set and the stars awoke. I was walking home from the trading shops, down the street from our home. That was when I heard it. The screams. The cries. The feet stomping like thunder on the ground. One word escaped from my mouth, “Crispus.” My feet fell into a run,
My breath was puffy, I was out of breath, exhausted, I collapsed onto the cold, hard concrete. “Hmph.” I sighed as I caught my precious breath. All of a sudden, I heard a raspy, angered voice exclaim “Fire!” My eyes squinted shut, praying that the shot didn’t belong to Crispus. I heard a cry of anguish and a thud. My eyes opened. A wave of quiet hushed the mob of gentlemen. I ripped my way to the place where the man had been shot, feeling every hair on my arm stick upward. My eyes widened, “No! Please…no…”
My brother’s dead body lay on the ground.
One month later
I dug and dug; the dirt wrapped around my hands like gloves in the winter wind. Why did it have to be Crispus? Oh, my dear brother, I miss you so much. I place the blood red roses in his coffin. My brother’s coffin. A gust of guilt overcame my feelings. My eyes wet. My nose sniffled. My body started to tremble. A hurricane of tears flew from my dark eyes.
“Oh Crispus,” I said “Why did you die? Why did you have to defend your country? Why did you need to be remembered by so many?” I cried. “What did I do to deserve such a tragedy?” I placed my hands against the coffin lid above my dead brother. “Did he know that we cannot end Parliament, but Parliament can end us?” I questioned. But I knew that I would never get an answer. “I will be strong,” I demanded as I wiped my nose with a trembling hand. I picked up the wooden shovel and covered all my beautiful memories he and I shared with dirt. I left a note by the gravestone. Only three words were written on the note by the coffin.
“My dear Crispus…”
By Savannah Castle
Grade 6, GMMS
Note: Crispus Attucks (c.1723 – March 5, 1770) was an American stevedore of African and Native American descent, widely regarded as the first person killed in the Boston Massacre and thus the first American killed in the American Revolution. Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crispus_Attucks
Clouds by the Sun painting
By Addison Landheer, Grade 6, GMMS
High school choirs changed tunes, but music still sweet
As with many other aspects of high school this year, the GMHS choirs have had to adjust to a new routine due to COVID-19. In addition to the generally implemented school protocols, such as double period schedules and masks, the choirs have followed additional precautions to safely continue making music despite the pandemic.
One of this year’s changes is quite noticeable for anyone who sets foot in the GMHS music hallway: the choir classes are no longer in the choir room. Due to social distancing restrictions, the choir room is not large enough to accommodate all the students.
At the beginning of the school year, classes practiced outdoors; but as the Connecticut winter set in, going outside became more difficult. Now, students have to practice in the auditorium instead, making sure to spread out and follow the nine-by-six-foot distancing requirements.
These accommodations work for practice and class time, but don’t allow for in-person performances, so concerts had to be presented differently. This winter, the choirs created a virtual concert available on the GMHS Arts YouTube channel. The process of creating a virtual concert is more than meets the eye. Singers must first record an audio file of themselves singing to a preset tempo, then a separate video of themselves singing that same song. However, the most effort is put in behind the scenes by GMHS’ choral director, Mindy Shilansky, who puts together the audio and video files to create the cohesive product that is shown as a virtual concert.
In addition, the GMHS choirs are hoping to perform an outdoor concert on Thursday, May 27 at the high school community gym entrance. The concert will be at 7 p.m. This is still a tentative time and date.
The requirements to be an honors choir student have also been altered this year. Typically, students can earn honors credit in their choir class by attending concerts and reflecting on the music they heard. This year, honors credit is earned by meeting with Mrs. Shilansky during study hall periods and practicing a solo song to help build vocal confidence and technique.
Due to the double period schedule implemented this year, choir classes have had time left over after their rehearsal. Singing for two hours can be too much of a vocal strain, so to fill this time, the students have been learning the basics of playing piano. Small groups go into the choir room, equipped with 18 keyboards, and practice learning chords and short songs. While some students practice with the keyboards, others will go in the hallway and practice music theory or sight-singing.
The pandemic may have changed the normal routine of the GMHS choirs, but one thing definitely hasn’t changed: their passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to making music to share with the community.
By Caroline Hall
GMHS Class of 2024
Brains are consistently fried
We are mystified
By how difficult this all is
Lessons turning into fizz
Always staring at a computer screen
The rates are higher than ever seen
Of grades going down the drain
Children are in constant pain
We miss those we hold dear
It’s difficult with them not near
Many of us weep
This path is just too steep
We no longer understand teaching
It all seems like collective screeching
A pandemic taking place
But stumbling on with a smiling face
We are no longer seen as human
Our lives a big ruin
Of poor mental-health
We must cry in stealth
We just want to live lives again
Yet we are left asking, “When”?
The dead-line for all of this is never the same
Pointing fingers, but none will take the blame
Students are so worn down
They feel like an utter clown
Because they can’t understand certain units
Some don’t understand we’re different students
Teachers are becoming tired
Of worrying they’ll get fired
When they are trying their best
But some students are at rest
No one is benefitting from this ordeal
Falling into hatred like a banana peel
But we must stick together
Like birds of a feather
We need to understand each other’s troubles
Turn this dirt into rubble
Hear each other’s cries
Before our peace dies
Just because you have a different face
Doesn’t mean we can’t save this year
By Jordan McIntire
Grade 8, GMMS
Brown Trout watercolor, received Honorable Mention from CT Student Writers Magazine 2021/UConn
By Will Sleavin, Grade 7, GMMS
By Olivia Teclaw, Grade 8, GMMS
Crossword Answers: Across: 4. forecast, 7. temperature, 9. blizzard. Down: 1. thermometer, 2. hail, 3. hurricane, 4. flood, 5. tornado, 6. North America, 8. eye
When will things get back to normal? artwork
By Aron Moss, Grade 7, GMMS
My freshman year amid a pandemic
COVID-19. Approximately one year ago, populations living in areas ranging from boisterous NYC to small communities like our own began to adapt to the new circumstances brought on by this pandemic. While different now, virus-related adjustments are still greatly apparent—especially in our public schools.
As a current freshman exploring various learning opportunities at GMHS, I have had the unique privilege of learning both inside the building (socially distanced from my peers, of course) and from the comforting familiarity of my own home. Prior to the bizarre events that occurred last March, I, like most, anticipated that my first year at the high school would be rather similar to other years. And while I was hesitant to concede the position of being in the oldest class of the middle school, I was ready to begin a new chapter in my school career as my friends and I prepared for our ninth-grade year.
Then the infamous pandemic arrived. Jokingly pushing and shoving friends while laughing—gone. Close-fitting lunch tables? Forget it. Even simple tasks, like offering pencils? You might as well purchase 125 pencils for the year, because I’m not sharing one without a sanitizing wipe in hand. What had been routine was now foreign, and major adaptations had to be made.
In light of the challenging circumstances, my experience as a student at the high school has surpassed my expectations for a school operating during a pandemic in how organized the back-to-school plan has been. As I have shared with my family and friends (from a distance), the most challenging adjustment has been the one-way hallways designed to keep us spaced apart from each other! Aside from that, I have felt very comfortable in what has otherwise been a peculiar world, with plexiglass shields put in place to protect students from one another as demonstrated by the photo.
Even with everything that has been implemented, there still is a group of students who remain home during the pandemic. While I currently learn in the building, I can say that I was a member of that group as well, and my experience from mid-November to January was unlike anything I had known in school before. To my surprise, I felt very engaged in my lessons and quite connected to my friends, as well, which allowed me to thrive in class regardless of where I was learning. In contrast to last school year, where it seemed the entire world was developing an understanding of platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, I was able to easily connect with all the resources I would typically find in the school building as easily as I would if I were roaming the halls.
From both experiences—in school and from home—I most certainly feel that the teachers and administrators deserve applause for their wonderful work ethic and mission to keep our school community together safely. While this year certainly has been unique, and far from what I had imagined my introduction to high school would look like, it is because of the planning, social distancing, masks, and perseverance that I can write such a positive and appreciative review of the 2020-2021 school year in Granby.
By Chase Alexander
GMHS Class of 2024