A Spring Like None Other


By Lori BODNAR, intern

The first day of spring, or the spring equinox, was on Thursday, March 19. But the spring plans of many were canceled due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The resulting “Safer at Home” order, issued the same day by Gov. Gavin Newsom, left students with time on their hands and no place to go.

Many students who were looking forward to spring break and had plans to visit theme parks, travel or spend time with friends are faced with finding ways to stave off boredom at home. Fortunately, there are many activities they can enjoy while adhering to social/physical distancing requirements. Here are some ideas to make the most of the unexpected “staycation”:

• Read a book just for fun. (I’ve been making my way through all the Harry Potter books!)

• Sing, play, or listen to music – learn a new instrument! 

• Cook. Try out new recipes! (My dad made sourdough bread for the first time.)

• Arts and crafts – paint a picture!

• Dance or exercise – get moving! (My sister does online dance now.)

• Play board games, video games or puzzles. 

• Plant a garden – or weed one! 

• Call, text or videochat with your friends. 

• Watch a movie. 

• Spring clean and organize your room.

Mary Ajemyan is a junior at Crescenta Valley High School and is in the marching band.

“I’ve been reading some of my favorite book series and watching the movies,” said Ajemyan. “I’ve also been practicing a music piece that I plan on using to audition for section leader in the fall marching season.”

Julianna Cheney, also a junior at Crescenta Valley High School, said, “I go on a run in the morning, come home and do a little ACT prep, take a hike, then watch a movie and go to bed.”

But the students are aware of the importance of keeping safe during the pandemic.

“With the heightening dangers of the virus, I have done my best to keep myself busy while still doing my part in flattening the curve,” said Andrew Kim, a junior at CVHS who is also in the marching band. “My family and friends are the most important part of my life and being able to text, call or FaceTime them allows me to remain positive in light of what is actually occurring. I have also been able to finish some home improvement projects that were put on hold because of a busy schedule. I have been able to relax.”

But keeping their distance has been hard for some of the students.

“Being at home and social distancing has become challenging,” said Tais Arrieta, another junior at CVHS. “I’ve become more informed with the news to [learn] about how to be safe and limit the spread of the virus. I have found many ways to entertain myself, along with my family. During this time, I’ve watched TV shows and movies, baked, painted, played games and have caught up on homework from different classes. It has also been a great way to engage with my family and enjoy time together.”

Many teens and elementary school students alike are happy to have a break from the hectic pace of school and after-school activities to simply stay at home, play games and relax. Erica Whinston and her children have found some fun activities to enjoy together during spring break.

“We have spent a lot of time with our family watching movies, playing games, and biking,” said Whinston’s son Davíd, 8. “We played an epic eight-hour game of Monopoly over the course of two days! We didn’t actually finish the game, but we added up all the properties, houses and Monopoly money. My older brother Noah won the game.”

Brother Solomon, 5, added, “My favorite part of the staycation is hanging out with my family.”

“This pandemic impacts all of our lives, and hopefully we will learn a lot from it,” said Whinston.

Pravnav and Vivek Arunachalam are students at Mountain Avenue Elementary and have found plenty to keep them busy.

“We played in the backyard, did chores, played piano, read books and our dad would teach us math,” Pravnav said. “After we do our work, we can watch a movie. We watched ‘How To Train Your Dragons: Race to the Edge.’ I also finished the first Harry Potter book.”

“I did homework, played basketball and soccer, and I read books,” added Vivek. “I also played board games and watched a movie.” 

(For more stay-at-home activity ideas, see “What to Do During the Break” by Charly Shelton on page 8 of the March 26 issue of CV Weekly.)

Though they’re trying to have fun and find constructive things to do, students are not unaware of the importance of staying at home to “flatten the curve;” that is, lessening the spread of the virus so the health care system isn’t overwhelmed with a rapid influx of sick patients. Many who work in the health care field have circulated viral postings, noting that, “We go to work for you. Please stay home for us!”  Although some people need to go out for groceries and some workers are considered essential and have to go to their jobs, most people, including students, are encouraged to work from home. 

For those who choose to stay active during this time and walk, run or hike, it’s important that a distance of at least six feet between people is maintained. For others who want to keep fit but stay at home, dust off that home gym equipment and start to use it! Be creative by using bags filled with canned goods from the pantry as gym weights.

Another good way to stay fit is to dance. Sandi Showe is a dance teacher at La Crescenta Montessori, Foothill Montessori, Progressive Montessori, Firehouse Montessori, and Little Montessori who is now offering online dance lessons in several genres.

“I started dancing at a very young age. I moved to California after college and fell in love with teaching children,” said Showe. “I feel it’s my calling. I feel a strong connection to children and the arts. I’ve been teaching dance for 25 years. I teach ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and ballroom dancing. The online dance lessons are on Wednesday and Friday at 3:30 p.m. People can join my online dance classes by calling or texting me at (818) 398-6128 or by emailing me at 4oyouth@gmail.com. My husband also teaches afterschool karate, chess, and cooking classes and will be offering online courses.”

Another dance fixture in the community, Revolution Dance Company (RDC), owned by Julie Kay and Darrell Stallcup, and Melissa Gerard, has offered free Facebook Live classes, and students enrolled in RDC classes can access their online dance instruction through the Band app emailed by their teacher (for more information, see the website https://www.revolutiondancecenter.com/.) 

Another local fitness center, The Little Gym of La Cañada, is also offering online fitness classes through its YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The main thing during this historic time is to stay healthy, stay safe and stay six feet away from everyone.