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Young Trailblazer Nominee

Rachel Hill

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Nominated By Shirley Martinez

My Black Colorado Interview

Youth on Topic – How are you dealing with COVID-19 – Life in Perspective

Rachel Hill – 17, Colorado Springs

My name is Rachel Hill, and I graduated from Harrison High School on July 25, 2020.  I was in the Honor Society and an AVID graduate with high honors.  I am currently a freshman at the University of Denver studying Marketing.  I would like to see how the second part of my first year goes and maybe will investigate a secondary degree in Finance and Real Estate.  As far as colleges go, I received several offers and decided on my first pick.

My favorite color is baby pink, it is a light pink color, but not pastel.  My favorite genre of music is K-pop which is a kind of Korean music.  I found this music on YouTube and social media and really liked it.

I have found that in my spare time I like watching the Food Network. Cooking just soothes my nervousness about what the future holds.  If I would say what people think of me, it would be that I know how to connect with people and I get along with people.  I do not judge people and am incredibly open-minded.  I help people with what they are going through. My most proud accomplishment was my International Baccalaureate (IB) paper.  I did it on different generations of Black women in society and their viewpoints.  I was proud of the work I put into the project.

What has been your experience during the pandemic (i.e., your school year and beyond)?

I was starting to get ready for graduation in March and trying to get everything done for school.  Trying to finish classes.  The one area that I wish I still could have completed was the Early Childhood Education course I volunteered in.  I had to say goodbye during the closing of school.  I would go to the preschool two times a week.  I was really getting into that and it abruptly stopped, it took a toll on me.  Not only did I not get to see my friends, but now the one area I really wanted to engage in was going away too.

The school had planned to graduate in May like all the other schools in the area, but due to COVID cases not decreasing the plans were changed.  That really bummed me out because we were one of the last schools to graduate at the end of July before we said our goodbyes.  It was hard because I always knew what my graduation would look like.  It made me sad.  But it was worth the consolation to have a graduation for the little amount of people who could come.

Now having to transition to college, it was weird.  Usually, you are greeted by others. With the pandemic, it was just me and my mom moving in.  They had a packet for us, and we were in small groups on Zoom calls for our orientation.  Starting classes…at the start of the quarter I was half online and half in class.  I thought they were doing well with what was happening with COVID-19.  But at the end of the semester, the cases were high, and they told us we could leave early before Thanksgiving.  I still had a week of classes left after Thanksgiving and had finals to complete.  It was hard to try to balance classes and it was hard to make friends, since we could not meet with each other in school.

The school is extremely strict, and you must stay in your dorm room. No socializing and meals were delivered, or you had set times.  I really wanted to join the cooking group, but with the pandemic a lot of the extracurricular activities were shut down.  The one thing I can say is it was hard to communicate because of COVID and being online.  Made for a very lonely time.

Do you believe there is a duty of care for the youth of today in their communities?

Yes, I feel the community is doing a good job for teenagers or college age. We are required to wear masks, so being good stewards of following the practices set out by the Governor helps us understand our roles if we want to get outside our small family area.  I also see it on social media all the time.  Youth want to be social, so we are in this together.  I think adults can learn something from us about following the rules.

Is there advice, a tip, or habit you think young people can inculcate in daily life to be able to live and think better?

Meditation or find ways to work through problems.  People my age or younger tend to keep in their problems and they hate the world. But if they find a way to meditate and talk to someone it might help them.  The pandemic has made many young people sad and depressed, feeling like they are alone.

What is one piece of advice adults need to hear to help them connect with the younger generation better?

I think maybe, just trying to check up on our youth. We know a lot about the world, we know a lot of stuff already.  But if parents or guardians can ask what we are interested in.  Maybe do research.  Maybe if parents watch their kids’ gaming and join them sometimes.  And to not criticize as much; be open-minded and listen.

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