Class of 2020 perseveres despite challenges during past four years

Class born in aftermath of 9/11 were dealt difficult card in high school, seeing loss of a classmate, changes to curriculum, and COVID-19

Nataly Salas, Staff Reporter

The Bishop Noll senior class of 2020 has really been through some challenging times but is still keeping their head held high through it all. The smallest class of the school–a tight-knit group of 96–experienced struggles, heartbreaks, and significant changes throughout their four years at Noll. They were Mrs. Pastrick’s first class as principal at Noll. They lost their fellow classmate, Alicia Casares, during their sophomore year. They’ve also seen the most changes occur throughout their four years with the new STREAM lab, iPad implementation, and the new media center. Now, they’ve had to finish their senior year virtually in the midst of a pandemic.

Bishop Noll’s Class of 2020 started their first year of high school with former Noll teacher and St. Casimir principal, Mrs. Lorenza Pastrick. With her new tenure, she ushered in a new era of advancement for the school as it stepped into its centennial birthday.

“I love this class. They are an intelligent group that has overcome a lot of adversity and continue as their high school experience comes to an end. This is a class I can say without hesitation I’m proud of! Every year as a principal I look at a class roster and evaluate the character of the kid we put out, and this class is hands down a quality class act!” Pastrick said.

The senior class has also built strength through turmoil together. In 2017, the class of 2020 had lost one of their own, Alicia Casares.

“Losing Alicia changed the class or school’s dynamic by making us silent for a while. We became so heartbroken,” said senior Heaven Mobley. It was very hard to face that she was gone; we were all truly in denial. Once we came face-to-face with what had happened, we continued on for her and through her. We became a closer family, she truly brought us together.”

Pastrick, who had transpired many difficult situations as a former elementary school principal, knew this moment to have a devout effect on this class.

“The greatest hardship I have ever endured as a principal was with this class.  We laid our fellow classmate down to rest when Alicia passed.  That is an experience I never want to have again but it also showed the strength of 2020,” she said.

Physical changes within the building were  huge and common for the Class of 2020. All changes made in the school over the years were within the years that the Class of 2020 have been there to progress with. The renovation of the former activities center into a STEM lab and the former library into a college-like media center with the most obvious changes, but with the 1:1 ipad implementation, students took on new responsibilities and learning techniques they could apply to their futures.

“Seeing all of these new changes–the STREAM lab, the new media center, the iPad program–affected my education here at Noll. We are moving forward and making changes to the school for a better education and living environment. It helped us grow because seeing these changes helped us to realize that we can make a change and we know how to comprehend with them,” Mobley said.

For the class that was born in the midst or the aftermath of 9/11, these students grew up knowing of obstacles they’d have to tackle.  Even with all the changes, losts, gains, and obstcales that the Class of 2020 have been through, they stuck together and became one big family.

“This class has lost a lot, but in their losses they have shown strength of character, they have shown that they are in this Together!  I admire that, being selfish is easy for teenagers and I genuinely believe that this group is a selfless group that puts their wants or desires to the side for the greater good,” Pastrick said.