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Park City High School Student Brings COVID-19 Perspective To Coffee With Council

This week’s Park City Coffee with Council focused on the school district and the impacts the COVID-19 social restrictions have had on our students. A Park City High School junior was on the panel and discussed how teens are coping with the abrupt changes that started in mid-March.

Park City Council Members Tim Henney and Becca Gerber hosted the Coffee with Council this week.   The online meeting drew 40 participants. Henney shared that his visit to Main Street over the Memorial Day weekend gave him encouragement for a return to normal in the coming months.  He credits the city, county and school district for how social distancing orders have been handled.

“We are probably going to meet our sales projections our sales tax projection numbers. And I know this is in the weeds of a different element, but it dovetails because there's evidence again to suggest that we are succeeding. Now we're going to have to see what happens as far as transmission, if there is a spike, if there's a second wave. It's all those things. Are we putting a winter season at risk?”

Park City high School junior Mimi Luna was on the panel and offered listeners a student’s perspective. She said the support from faculty has made many classmates feel cared for and connected. She said sometimes, it’s difficult for kids to reach out when they’re struggling, and she said she and her classmates are experiencing loss and sadness.

“I just had no idea how much I was taking for granted before, even when I drive by the school, I'm like wow, I never thought I would be this sad driving by the school because I truly miss it. Because even when school was out, I was at the school for sports or different clubs and I was still seeing my friends in different areas that were associated with school and now everything all at once just got cutoff and it just created such a greater, deeper appreciation for what school has to offer and the staple it plays in our lives.”

Council member Becca Gerber graduated from Park City High in 1998 and shared her recollections.

“I remember just being so excited to be done and go off to college and be out and totally taking it for granted and I’m never coming back. Whohoo! See ya park City. But I do also remember there was a lot of joy our senior year and celebration with our friends and family and senior pranks. I'm really hoping that our seniors pull through with something awesome this year.”

Summit County moved from level orange to yellow last week and with that students are gathering more in public places. Luna says it has lifted spirits among students who have been isolating for the past several months.

“I think people, now that everything is starting to lighten up, me and my friends have definitely come together outside. I can't tell you how crowded the park is now. We go and we see kids from all the grades, playing spike ball, basketball. Everyone's outside now. We go on sunrise hikes. We go on sunset hikes. We sit at the park and get Crumble Cookie in Salt Lake. We have just found different outlets that is safe and that our parents allow us to do, in order to get that social interaction that I think we've really felt deprived of and really missed.”

Superintendent Jill Gildea was on the panel and said this experience will create resilience and build stronger individuals in the long run. She said the students are a constant source of inspiration.

“I do see kids you know running and training and still trying to keep in great shape for those sports they've committed to either in college or just to stay healthy. So, I'm definitely seeing kids biking and running and you know taking care of themselves, which is terrific.”  
Council Member Gerber offered parting wishes to the graduating Park City High School senior class.

“The senior year and celebration and rights-of-passage can also be a really dangerous time for a lot of our students. So, make sure you're safe and responsible and take care of each other and love each other 'cause this is a fleeting moment in your lives.”

Gerber added a final thought:

“Well, I would like to say to the seniors of Park City that I will be very disappointed if the PC remains a PC all the way through graduation week.”

The last day of school for the Park City School District is Wednesday, June 3. The graduation ceremony has been postponed until the end of July. Details will follow.

For more information, go to pcschools.us.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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