TOPS students reflect on school year

Senior Alana Linley, a student in the TOPS program, participates in class fully online. Linley hopes that school will return to normal next year.

For Heritage students participating in LPS’ Temporary Online Program for Students (TOPS), school has looked quite different. The brand new program was created to provide an alternative option for students in the wake of COVID-19 and  has developed greatly over the course of the year.
   “I would say this year has been different. It hasn’t been terrible; there are definitely things that could have been worse,” says Brenna Simmons ’22. “I think last year at this time—when we were online—was not great. Teachers didn’t know what to do and it was so scattered. And at the same time we were all on lockdown so we couldn’t see anybody. So this school year’s been better.”
   Alana Linley ’21 agrees that while things could have been worse, TOPS had a bit of a rocky start.
   “Obviously it was a new program, so it was kind of difficult in the beginning,” says Linley.
   Linley says that getting to know her teachers over the course of the year was extremely helpful as she navigated TOPS and adjusted to the format of everything.
   “It’s just like when you’re in school and you get to know your teachers. It’s just a lot easier because you know what they want,” Linley describes.
   Linley adds “TOPS has done a really good job, honestly, for coming up with a program so quickly. It works really well. It’s not the same as normal school, but they’ve done a really good job still.”
   One way TOPS has helped students find a sense of normalcy is creating clubs for students to connect with each other virtually.
   “There’s a baking, photography and art club,” explains Simmons. “They meet during advisory and it’s open to all grade levels.”
   Although TOPS has done their best at helping students adjust throughout the year, no amount of effort could make it feel like normal school.
   “I honestly miss talking to people. Some TOPS teachers are really good and they talk with you, but it’s still not really the same,” explains Linley. “I just love Heritage a ton. The environment is really nice, so I’ll miss the environment and all the people there.”
   As of now, LPS is not planning on continuing TOPS next year.
   “Hopefully it stays that way because we all want to come back!” Simmons states. “I’m not a very social person, but I miss people. I miss actual human interaction and not having to teach myself things, and just having that connection with your teachers and being able to ask questions.”

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