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A Day in the Life of an Expert Mask-Wearer

Jack Sexton '21

The usual hustle and bustle of Saint Thomas Academy looks much different this year, with faces being almost unrecognizable behind the blue medical face masks and cadet gators. From one-way hallways to a new schedule with three lunches, the Academy has seen some major changes from last year.

The Day in the Life of a Saint Thomas Academy Cadet during COVID this year is very different than in most years. My morning wake up looks the same, with the usual wakeup at 6:45. I make my morning cup of Joe, put on my uniform and head off to school. However, I question to myself why I am actually going to school, considering the end of my junior year was online.

Upon arrival, everything feels out of place. I constantly forget to put on my mask as I get out of the car, and think to myself why are kids walking up to Founders’, quickly to remind myself that each grade has a specific entrance and exit from school.

I walk in only to be surrounded by hand sanitizer stations and arrows on the floor telling me how to walk to my locker, something that I never knew I needed directions for.

Once I get to my locker, I deposit my books and backpack like any other day, but as I peer into the classrooms, something feels off. I look into some of the rooms to find massive walls have been destroyed, leaving two rooms to be combined into one mega classroom.

After making it through my two morning classes, I make my way to the gym, not the court, but the gym. I keep thinking to myself, “when will we all be back in the gym again?” This question remains unanswered as everyone is separated for the foreseeable future. I want to run up to congratulate the senior speaker, but I cannot run from the gym all the way to the court.

After formation, I finish my last morning class. I’m famished, looking forward to a great meal from Sage and a fun conversation with friends. I am let down when I have to talk to three of my friends through a piece of plastic barrier. Following my typical meal, much debate occurs of who will have to clean tables for the day. However, this discussion is short, as Tommy Deverell, Joe Middleton, and I all point towards Alex Hanson.

After lunch, the Flex Falcons make their way down to Mr. Seidel’s room, only to find that our beloved couch has been taken away, due to violation of social distancing protocol. This is not the first time our flex has been robbed of a sacred piece of furniture. Two years ago, Oscar Berg destroyed one of the chairs in our flex when he leaned too far back, causing the chair to split in two. The pain caused by the loss of this chair was immense, meaning that we were even more disappointed to hear that we would never have the precious couch again.

After our usually long flex period, my afternoon classes start. Classmates tuning in virtually causes teachers to become extremely frustrated, as the Go-To Meeting seems to always time out right as Mr. Simmons is getting into the daily slappage. During this period of wifi failure, Mr. Simmons growls at the screen, attempting to scare the internet to obey.

Finally, it is the end of the day. Normally, I would be ecstatic, thinking that I can head down before Cross Country practice to play wall ball in the Wrestling Room. However, I am sadly mistaken with our warmup facility being moved outside to the Grotto.

At practice, Philly Solomon relieves our school worries with his light-hearted jokes and constant nagging on the Seniors. After practice, some of the guys make their way down to Rogers Lake. Philly has the brilliant idea to bet Padon Kinzley he wouldn’t jump in the lake. To Philly’s surprise, Padon sprints towards the lake, attempting a backflip off the dock. To his surprise, he miscalculated his ability, landing back first on a large stone in the lake.

When we return back inside, Coach Kinzley questions why Padon is soaking wet. We all start laughing, saying we got caught in a flash thunderstorm, but only Padon got rained on.

Once everyone is stretched out and practice is over, we reconvene in the parking lot, heading to Speedway to refuel with some delicious choccy milks. As Roz says, “choccy milk will take the pain away after a long run.”

At 6:30, I am finally home. After enjoying a steaming hot shower and a delicious warm meal, my heaping load of homework taunts me from my desk. After hours of long studying and FaceTiming numerous people trying to figure out our Economics slapwork, my workload is complete.

Before letting my dreams run wild, I indulge in Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. After a few good laughs, it is time for bed. The clock reads 11:00. I set my alarm for 6:30 just to do it all again the next day.

Even though everything is different with COVID, I would not change a thing, because everyday I get to enjoy the Academy with the people I missed the most. COVID has been a curveball this year, but the Corps of Cadets has overcome the obstacle and made the most out of this year. Our last hope is for the Senior Class for one Last Dance: The Military Ball.

Baker Reding wearing a mask.