Expanding connections while separated

By Elizabeth Rexing
Zionsville Community High School

I don’t have to tell you that it’s been an unprecedented (almost!) 12 months because I know you’ve heard it a million times.

But it’s true.

The words that defined the year — unprecedented, cohort, social-distancing, and quarantine — and rarely uttered pre-pandemic have become some of the most common phrases in our present-day vocabularies.

These words are evidence of the change that we experienced, and are continuing to experience, in 2020 and 2021.

When the world first shut down in March 2020, my school, Zionsville Community High School, and our student media program, the Harbinger, struggled to adjust to the new circumstances and to find a way to continue establishing a connection between the students that we were so dedicated to having. As student journalists, our job is to bring everyone together and in a time of so much separation, it was hard.

In the first couple of months following the school closure, we were lost. How do we continue publishing? How do we distribute our magazines? And with nothing going on, What do we even report on?

We were lost, but then we innovated, and we adapted. We published our weekly announcements, the Harbinger Headlines, on YouTube and promoted them. We found an online resource to display our monthly magazine. We expanded our presence on social media and started posting more. We even added a new platform and started a podcast.

We reached more people than we ever had, with students, faculty, parents, grandparents (because we all know they are some of our most dedicated fans), and extended family. We had record-breaking numbers on our YouTube channel, topped 400 followers on our Instagram page and gained a loyal following on our podcast. Never had we received such a high level of participation and communication from our student body than we’ve received in the last two semesters.

We’ve been challenged, but we’ve prevailed.

Despite living during a time when a virus tried so hard to keep us apart, we’ve never been more united, more together, and more connected, as a school.

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