Writing Challenge: Community Means …

ThreeSixty’s Writing Challenge is open to all high school students throughout April 2020. Each week, students are asked to submit their responses, and we pick the top ones to share.

Week 4 prompt: How has your idea of community changed recently?

Evan Odegard, sophomore at Nova Classical Academy

Writing Challenge - April 2020 - CommunityThe coronavirus pandemic has changed every community it has touched. By shutting down businesses and isolating people in their homes, the outbreak has changed the ways we interact and put life as we know it to an unexpected halt. These sudden changes have led me to appreciate what it means to be part of a community and have shaped my idea of what a community should be.

Before the coronavirus reached Minnesota, I was already seeing images of communities around the world uniting in the face of an alarming crisis. The balconies of Italian cities were draped with banners reading andrà tutto bene—“everything will be alright.” Communities in Spain have come together around the song “Resistire,” a song from 1988 that has become the Spanish anthem of the coronavirus pandemic. Around the world, communities are making gestures of support for healthcare workers and others on the frontline every day.

At first, I wasn’t seeing these large signs of community bonding in my neighborhood in St. Paul. However, as time went by, I began to notice the small ways that members of my community were helping one another through the crisis. People started to find new ways to interact, from Zoom sessions to socially distanced walks. Walkers and bicyclists made room for each other on sidewalks and paths, opening up the ability to exercise outside without the risk of infection.

One moment that stood out to me was when a man took his saxophone to a street corner and performed music for the entire neighborhood. As I watched families gather 6-feet apart and listen to the free music, I realized that it didn’t take a big moment like this to unite a community. We had been helping each other the entire time we’d been quarantined; and now that the entire community was together, standing on the same grass, listening to the same music, I realized how united we really were. I realized that no matter how long this crisis lasts, it cannot destroy the bond my community shares.

Because of the strength of this bond, I am sure that in the end, andrà tutto bene—everything will be alright.

Ahlani Thomas-Ceron, sophmore at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

I believe my idea of community has changed recently, mainly because of the virus that has been going around. Before, I thought that our community wasn’t seen as one. I used to think that out community was a bit broken, and it still is.

But, after seeing how everyone had to come together to give thanks to doctors and nurses, while even helping each other through these hard times – it made me think that maybe our community was still helpful toward each other after all.

Read Students’ Letters to the Future Selves

Read Students’ Definition of Self-Care

Read How I Know What Makes Me, Me