The last Dear Tologs: Shield seniors write open letters to their classmates

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Clockwise from left: Cerys Davies, Olivia Spina, AJ Lopez, Spina, Julia Yellen, Sam Godinez, Spina, Cameron Kisob.

Pictured above are the spirited and creative seniors of the 2019 - 2020 Veritas Shield. 

When quarantine started, the Veritas Shield saw that, in addition to providing news and commentary for its readers, the publication could now serve the purpose of keeping Tologs in touch with each other and keeping the FSH community held together. To that end, the Shield introduced a series called Dear Tologs, in which teachers, students and staff published open letters  — about hunting for bugs in their backyards, about cutting their own hair, about whatever they were up to while on quarantine — in the paper’s Community section.

For the senior print issue, the Veritas Shield’s seniors wrote letters of their own to their friends and classmates. These letters, which follow below, are funny, heartfelt and full of the resilience that the class of 2020 has shown in the midst of such extraordinary times.

Now, how have I been spending my time? Well, most of my time is spent either attempting to play at least 20 seconds of any song on the guitar, convincing myself I have contracted COVID-19 or, of course, watching the first 30 minutes of any Netflix original up until the movie lulls me into what is starting to seem like a perpetual nap. Yes, this quarantine is a total bummer. But, in all honesty, I have been leaving my house at least three times a week to fulfill my duties of having a part-time job: scooping ice cream for people that consider ice cream “essential.” So, I haven’t been completely locked in.

Between washing my hands constantly and listening to The Weeknd’s new album, “After Hours,” on repeat, I have picked up a new habit that I happen to enjoy. I have found myself in the streets of Monterey Park riding my bike, which is something I haven’t done since middle school. Maybe this letter will inspire you to get on a bike, pick up a guitar or eat some ice cream. Either way, remember this is going to end soon enough.

— Cerys

Seniors, I hope you are all doing well and washing your hands.

I’m not going to lie, this quarantine stinks. I find myself tearing up at least once a day, lamenting the world’s problems as well as my own.

But, this time at home has given me lots of time to rewatch “Babylon Berlin,” the most fabulous German show literally ever. It’s quite intense, though, so I mellow it out with “The Nanny,” the greatest sitcom of all time. I will also forever treasure my family watching shows together in the kitchen, a new habit that has come out of this quarantine. We’ve taken to “Dirty Money,” a Netflix documentary series that exposes the corruption woven into society, government and culture. How relevant for our times.

I know I’m taking this time at home day by day, and I encourage all of us graduating Tologs to do our best, drink water, wash our hands, stay healthy and smile.

— Nikki

In the most ironic way possible, what a journey it’s been. We’ve really been through it, but if this setback means anything, it means we will come out on the other side stronger. In the meantime, I am here to offer some words of advice. Although quarantine is incredibly unfortunate, how often do we get a chance for self care? I recommend we try to make the most of this opportunity to take care of ourselves.

The first task I wanted to complete during quarantine was to clean my room. It was a simple task, but doing this was very effective towards occupying my time and leaving me feeling better. When on break, I naturally steer towards watching movies and TV shows. So while on quarantine, I attempted to watch the 2011 feature “Contagion,” but unfortunately the movie hit a little too close to home. I decided to ease up a little on the harsh dramatics and watch something a little less heavy. I put on the 2010 Disney feature, “Tangled.” The opening song to this film can offer many examples as to how you might be able to spend your time at home, as the movie is about Rapunzel, who is trapped in a tower and forced to come up with many hobbies. I’ve also decided to keep a list of what I’m watching and the things I’m doing so that one day I’ll be able to look back at this time we’re living in. Podcasts are great time consumers as well.

Good luck, my friends. We shall see each other soon. I can positively say that I miss you all dearly.

— Georgia

I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been. Time is moving by so slowly, and I feel like I have been in quarantine for years. However, with all of this new time on my hands, I have picked up a few hobbies. I have started to play Wii again with my sister, and we have successfully finished all eight worlds in “Super Mario Brothers” twice. I have also started to enjoy walking, biking and sitting outside in the fresh air. For the next few weeks, I am going to be working on a new project: turning my garage into a hangout space. Hopefully, this can entertain me for some time and keep my mind off of how much I miss our class. I am so sad that we’re ending the year this way.

— Liza

I miss you guys more than words can describe. During my quarantine, I’ve had a lot of time to reminisce about the seemingly insignificant but unforgettable quirks that our class has. Some of my favorite moments for us include breaking into a dub-step version of the alma mater in Block F of AP Gov and running down the stairs to grab the last tray of the oh-so-delectable Tolog Cafe taquitos during break. Oh, what I would do for those taquitos.

To ease my anxieties, I have been redoing my room a lot to make things look nice and to maintain control over something. I have also started venturing around different neighborhoods with a quirky new method: I take a deep breath, hold it in and drive straight. When I can’t hold my breath anymore, I turn onto a new street. It sounds weird, but doing this ensures that I wind up on a new street, moving towards something new. While I do enjoy doing all of these things, I miss being with the class of 2020 so much more. I love and miss you all.

— Kiara

What have I been doing? I don’t even know. During my first few days of quarantine, I learned how to play “Barbie Dreams” by Nicki Minaj on the guitar. Then, I decided that I wanted to build a bunker in my garage.

Other than that, I’ve been fulfilling my role in the family as the rational calming presence who takes on all domestic duties while trying to coordinate who will report my brother’s case of coronavirus to the CDC. He’s living in a trailer outside our home to protect my asthmatic father. He’s doing better, and my sister, who came into contact with him, is just fine. And, it was my birthday. Woohoo. Yeah… so fun. No, but this was surprisingly one of my best birthdays. Considering how much I don’t like celebrating my own birthday, it was nice to get to stay at home all day and just have my closest friends drive by and social distance hangout in my cul de sac.

— Spina

I just know that I have been resting a whole lot up here. Recuperating, if you will. I haven’t showered in days because I have watched three seasons of “New Girl,” one season of “American Horror Story” (I was craving some Tate in my life), “Rick and Morty,” etc. Now, I think my subconscious mind keeps referring back to the dawn of man and cave times because I just watched “2001: A Space Odyssey” for the first time, and I am simply blown away. I don’t want to give away what it is about, but mama, all I gotta say is wow.

I can’t help but feel nothing during these strange times. I think my body needs the rest. It’s weird having teachers’ babies on screen, but Google Hangouts are fun. No complaints! I’m afraid for my health, though. But, there’s nothing I want to think about on that front! Haha!

— Yellen

I know we are all a little upset and bummed about the current situation. We have all worked so hard and spent so many hours to get to where we are today. We have dreamed of graduating since “High School Musical 3” aired. We have planned out prom, spring season senior nights and time with all of our friends before we leave and start a new adventure. We have all seen the numerous tweets and Instagram posts that point out all of the things that seniors will miss this year. It’s easy to dwell on what could’ve been, but wouldn’t doing that waste our senior year as well?

We can utilize this time to reach out to old friends, work on having the glowing skin of our dreams and spend more quality time with our families. It will be better to look back at this time and know that we did something instead of a whole lot of nothing. As Ms. Darbus once said, “It’s better to consider opportunities now than in ten years, when life may limit your choices.” And, that is what I want for all of you. I want you to consider your opportunities now. Use this time to do something you have always wanted to do. I for one will be at home learning the dance to “Footloose.”

On top of that, I want to thank you all. While we all have had our own high school journeys, it’s important to note that we have all done so together. We have all sat together during the long assemblies and struggled to submit our final essays on time. And, we have all used the FSH Quizlet. Honestly, the biggest thank you I have is for anyone who posted her Quizlets on there. You have saved a lot of grades.

Thanks for experiencing the highs and lows of high school with me. Now is obviously one of the lows, but that doesn’t mean we won’t experience any more highs. If the class of 2020 can do anything, it is make the best out of any experience. So let’s gear up for the rest of 2020 because we have to make it as memorable as possible.

— CJ

I hope social distancing has been treating you well, or at least as well as social distancing can treat you. I hope you’re finding ways to fill up your time and occupy your mind. It’s been a lot of “Silicon Valley,” Malcolm Gladwell and friendship bracelet-making on my end. Strangely, I’ve also been watching a lot of those “Hot Ones” interviews where the celebrities do interviews while eating spicy chicken wings or, in Paul Rudd’s case, spicy chunks of cauliflower.

My dog is loving this social distancing thing. He is loved as it is, but the extra attention is making him unbelievably happy. He’ll be in for a rude awakening when — or, maybe it’s more accurate to say if — things go back to normal.

I find myself going through my Snapchat memories and camera roll often, just so I can feel like I’m near everyone. I had a moment of self-awareness (or lack thereof) as I was moping around the house, wallowing in self-pity over how I felt that our senior year had been unjustly ripped from our eager hands. As much as I am an advocate for letting ourselves be sad because it’s healthy, I also know that we can and should find the silver lining; I feel like our class is good at that. I’m making a conscious effort to spend extra time with my family, as I know I will be flying the coop in August. Now might be the most time we’ll have with them in a very long time, so I encourage you to break out the puzzles, board games and “Guitar Hero” and laugh with your family at how uncomfortable and bizarre it is that you’re all hanging out together.

I can still feel the love from all of you, even through the phone or computer screen. I know that the school has done anything and everything to give us the graduation we deserve. I can’t wait to see all of us serving in our decorated caps and gowns in our virtual ceremony. I miss all your beautiful smiles and faces and laughs.

— Lea