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High School Senior Finds Positives in Unique School Year

Written by on April 4, 2021

Photo courtesy of Ben Haushalter

DOWNS, Ill. – As ISU looks to make a return to normalcy this fall and saw a slight glimpse this past Friday and the first Redbird Day since the pandemic.

However, it’s hard not to think about what was lost over the past 13 months for students. While many college students have vocalized their struggles, high schoolers have faced many of the same challenges, according to Ben Haushalter.

Ben Haushalter is a senior at Tri-Valley High School, located in Downs, Illinois. Haushalter explains remote learning, while no longer the primary teaching module at TVHS, impacted his ability to make personal connections and made learning tougher.

“The connections that you lose with your teachers, and the students, and the overall experience…obviously those are the social things,” said Haushalter.”But there’s also extra classwork. For some classes, like math, I’m struggling a lot with virtual learning and virtual homework. It’s a lot harder than working in the classroom with the professor. It’s definitely made those aspects of learning not so great.”

Even with the negatives of remote learning, Haushalter has been able to identify some positives. He finds that it has helped prepare him for the responsibilities that come with being a college student.

“It’s taught me how to get ready for college,” said Haushalter. “That’s basically the greatest thing for me. I’m learning how to be more responsible and do things on my own time.”

Illinois State University has stated in its weekly coronavirus update emails to students that it’s planning for a “traditional campus experience” this fall. And as a student who has committed to Illinois State, Haushalter says he is excited for his Redbird debut.

“I’m excited to get back into the classroom all the time, and working with everyone all the time,” said Haushalter. “It’s going to be great.”

Haushalter, a three-year drum major for Tri-Valley High School’s marching band, plans on studying music education at ISU.