A senior at Milpitas High School (MHS), Chloe Wang is one of those students who deeply commits herself to all that she undertakes. She’s President of the high school’s Milpitas Xtreme Robotics Club, which has created countless learning opportunities for children in elementary school and middle school.
The Milpitas Xtreme Robotics Club was running an afterschool series of workshops at the Extension, up until Santa Clara County started sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now Chloe, along with many other students, is learning at home, making for a senior year experience that nobody would've ever expected. This week, Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that schools in California will remain physically closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. However, online learning will continue on...
Milpitas High School Principal Francis Rojas also announced that arrangements would be made for a virtual graduation ceremony at the end of the year. Of course, nothing can replace the real thing...but there's no doubt that MHS leadership and staff will do their best to create a special experience for their seniors.
As high school seniors like Chloe adjust to the fact that they will be spending the rest of the school year away from their friends and unable to engage in in-person events like Senior Prom and Graduation, they must also continue to press on.
Read our recent interview with Chloe here:
What is it like for you, being a high school senior, and having to suddenly "shelter in place"?
The recent shelter-in-place was initially very jarring for me; transitioning from being constantly occupied by school, extracurriculars, and various events to staying at home with no in-person social interactions was a bit difficult. I am thankful our city and school board are doing what they can to protect us. However, as a senior, it is also frustrating to know that major events have been canceled due to COVID-19. We won’t be having a senior prom nor many other events I had been excitedly awaiting, along with the final semester of my senior year. After three-and-a-half incredible years spent with my robotics club and watching their growth, this last semester was to be a treasured one filled with field trips, bonding days, STEM events, competitions, and so much more. We had looked forward to representing Milpitas at the 2020 VEX World Championships, one of the two largest youth robotics events in the world, in which we earned a spot for the first time in our 17 years. Instead, we are now facing many frustrating cancellations. It has been painful for our entire club, all of whom have worked so hard for all of these activities, and for the seniors, who may never have another opportunity to experience any of these events in the same way.
What has been your experience, learning from home? What are the benefits to online learning? Any challenges?
Learning at home has been a surprisingly pleasant experience overall, seeing as the online classes give us more time and flexibility with our schedules. Removing transit time and having almost all of my classes/resources in one place ”my computer” has allowed me to focus better. Additionally, with more time, I have had the chance to dive back into a few of my past hobbies and learn new skills.
What does your current day to day schedule look like, in regards to your learning/studies? Aside from learning online, what else are you doing with all your time at home?
I usually take a few classes in the morning, depending on which classes are meeting that day. Each of my classes usually only meets once or twice a week, and one teacher posts online video lessons, although I have heard of other teachers giving daily live-streamed lessons. I try to follow my original school schedule by working on related assignments during those "class periods." I practice for AP Econ during my 3rd-period time slot and read my English book during 6th. "After school," I take classes on Skillshare for interests I never took time to further, such as app development, and have spent time on neglected hobbies, such as sewing and calligraphy.
What makes the Extension a great opportunity for high school students to take advantage of?
The Extension has always done everything it can to provide a welcoming and supportive resource for us, including offering a quiet space with wifi for studying, classes for us to participate in, private rooms for projects or meetings, and a wonderful staff that are kind and helpful. High school students are able to take classes to learn career-focused skills that are not taught in high school, gain a GPA boost, and find resources to help them with the rest of their high school and college journey. Students definitely should take advantage of that!
The San Jose City College extension has been incredibly supportive of Milpitas Xtreme Robotics, and with their help, we have taught elementary and middle schoolers STEM and robotics during various after-school classes and summer camps throughout the past year. It has been incredible to see the impact we are making; one 13-year-old came to us after our 2019 Robotika Summer Camp and told us that he had been through many summer camps and classes, but ours was his favorite, and he had learned much in it.
Is Milpitas Xtreme Robotics doing anything virtually to stay connected and to continue creating? Is anything happening virtually to keep the robotics workshops going?
Our club has never stopped supporting each other and staying connected online, and this pandemic is no exception. We have been sharing our day-to-day lives, hobbies, and video games with one another, keeping each other company and giving a familiar comfort virtually. Many of the events that we had been eager to attend have been postponed or canceled, but we are doing our best to keep moving forward. We are currently using our 3D printers to aid an organization in printing face shield parts for local hospitals that are in dire need of more resources, have started new virtual lessons for our members to learn computer-aided design (CAD), and are planning to virtually host leadership classes for our upcoming leaders. We have been playing around with online simulators and other games, and hope to use the shelter-in-place as an opportunity to bond more and share club stories.
Anything else you want to add?
To the general public: Please do your part in keeping COVID-19 from spreading. This pandemic has heavily impacted all of us, bringing pain to entire families, causing panic in many, keeping others from treasured activities, stopping the class of 2020 from spending their last high school months with their closest friends, and generally flipping all of our everyday lives upside-down. Our entire county is a victim of COVID-19, and our entire community is hurting. Please do your part in stopping the outbreak from taking more victims.