Finding Their Way In a New World: HBHS CLASS OF 2024



By Sam Ekstedt

June, 13th 2024


We grow up learning about history from old textbooks. These events were so momentous and integral in the foundation of our world that someone decided they were worth writing down.


The thing is, though, these events are stories. 


Important stories, yes, but when they are at the point where a kid is reading about them in History class they seem so far removed from reality. 


We never thought we could be a part of these history books. Then the world stopped, and suddenly, overnight, we were. 


The COVID-19 lockdowns do not need much introduction. If you were alive starting in late 2019, you lived through an incredible and historical global quarantine.


While people were stuck inside, losing their minds from boredom, the world outside changed. It's a different landscape than it was before. During this new era in 2020, the Class of 2024 began their Freshman year here at HBHS. 


Except, they weren't "here," per se. For them, their Freshman year was dozens of black squares in a Zoom Room. Nobody knew where the world was going, and everyone had to settle into a strange new norm. 


Katie Burton, a senior well known for her contributions to MUN, who will be majoring in environmental engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO), said, "When we were first quarantined, no one knew what was happening, but we were all excited to have a few days off from school. Looking back, this all seems like a fever dream that never happened."


Schools everywhere raced to convert online, and suddenly, students were calling in from their kitchens, beds, and anywhere else they could get a WiFi connection. 


For some, they thrived, and for others, they ran into some of the most challenging times they've ever had academically. 


Sam Borenstein, a senior who is very active in APA and will be attending the University of Toronto in Canada to study art, recalled, "I have a lot of focus problems, so staying engaged was really hard. I got the worst grades I'd ever gotten."


But even the most difficult times don't last forever; a vaccine for COVID-19 was found, mass-distributed, and slowly, people began to trickle back to learning in person. 


The Class of 2024's Sophomore year was the first time together they stepped foot on campus.


Regarding the transition back to in-person and a more formal high school experience, senior Lucas Do, who is on the tennis team and will be attending Irvine Valley College (IVC), said it was bizarre "…because despite being in class, we still were masked up and taking precautions. However, I felt very happy to be back because I felt as though I was starting the next chapter of my life."

class of 2024

People fell into this new normal, and while it would never quite be the same, things began to look a bit more like they used to. 


The Mask Mandate was lifted, and teachers and students alike saw what the bottom half of each other’s faces looked like. 


School events began again, and the Class of 2024 finally got the high school experience they deserved. 


Burton even got the opportunity to travel with HBHS, recounting that she “...loved being able to travel to Spain the summer after my junior year to learn more about the language and culture.”


Of course, no senior year is complete without Prom. The class of 2024’s Prom was Greek-themed, inspired by Mamma Mia. It was a magical night and an unforgettable experience at the beautiful Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. 


They were treated to a live DJ and band and a myriad other fun activities. A real Viking boat was housed in the room with the DJ and intricate marble statues sat in the courtyard. 


Burton said about the best part of the night, “I loved getting dressed up and dancing with my friends!”


Despite the inevitable hardships and the ever-changing world, the Class of 2024 found their feet. The question was not how we exist in this new world but how we thrive in it. 


Borenstein accredited a large part of his success to, “The good teachers. Some of my ‘Gen Ed’ and APA teachers have left such an impact on the educational aspect of my life....” 


When asked what he felt helped him grow and prepare for his future career, he said, “…I loved the Animation class. I took it for two years. Mr. Harward [the art teacher] was really incredible, and I loved getting a whole period to do Studies.”

drone shot


At the end of their time here at HBHS, the Class of 2024 looks ahead toward their bright future. A few among them were asked what advice they can give to the incoming Seniors about to follow in their footsteps next school year. 


Senior, Josslyn Macy who was on the cross country team and will be attending Orange Coast College (OCC) to study psychology offered “... to not be shy and apply for any college you want… senior year goes by fast so, make the most of it.”


Langley Bradbeer, a senior who finished high school earlier this year in January, who has also attended OCC, and recently received their certification as an EMT added, “Have fun and enjoy your last year! But, maintain those grades.”


For the seniors, they have spent around 13 years of their lives in school. It’s all they’ve known and they’re about to embark into unknown territory in a post Quarantine landscape. 


Do said, “I am excited for what the future holds, but I'm also not ready to say goodbye to the people I have known these last 4 years.”


This sentiment is echoed somewhat universally among the seniors. The unknown is an undeniably scary concept. One fact however remains, the Class of 2024 has proven how resilient they are. 


They are already living in the history books; they’ve survived a global pandemic after all. 


They’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today, and while trials and tribulations are to be expected, it’s undeniable that here at HBHS they are equipped with the skills and tools to handle it. 


In the face of anxiety regarding the future, graduating, and beginning their journey in uncharted waters the question is raised…


What if it all works out?

cap toss