Goodbye, NAI

A barely bittersweet ending.


Anthony Durzo

Mural inside of North Allegheny Intermediate High School for ninth and tenth graders.

March eleventh was the last day I felt “normal.”

My long-awaited trip to Disney World for band was canceled along with a multitude of school-related activities, trips, and sports. Everyone was off.

I remember tapping through what felt like hundreds of private Snapchat stories of my friends crying and feeling the same disheartening feelings that I felt. I spent the whole Wednesday night texting my friends and complaining about how everything good about the springtime at school was gone.

March thirteenth, North Allegheny canceled school for two weeks, planning to return on the thirtieth. Once again, it felt so odd. I learned the words “remote learning” as our district transferred to online instruction on the twenty-third.

Today, April ninth, Governor Wolf closed all schools for the rest of the academic year. All in one state-wide address, my most enjoyable school year vanished. I’ll be sitting in front of my laptop screen for the last nine weeks of my sophomore year.

I’ll be sitting in front of my laptop screen for the last nine weeks of my sophomore year.”

Through this all, though, much more was going on beyond me. Tens, hundreds, thousands dying from COVID-19. Doctors and nurses frantic to help one more soul. People waking up from nightmares and hellish dreams.

It’s hard to say that I won’t be able to see Tiger Hall flooded with familiar faces rushing to see their friends or panicking about their next period test. Never will I see the daily chalkboard outside of the locker room saying that we’re running outside and forgetting a sweatshirt. I won’t ever again be on the school announcements with my best friends joking about how the teleprompter screen always said “an B-day.” My friends won’t get to beg me for three quarters to buy a Pop-Tart from the Tiger Shop.

I won’t get to use Mr. Hull’s old Convive coffee bags and cups as “Hull” passes to go and sneakily talk to my friends. I won’t get to sit in MathKath’s class again and try to understand a little bit of algebra or be confused about the new German grammar in Herr Demkee’s class. I won’t get to see my favorite teachers, say hello to smiling principals, or have to wait in a crowded line to go onto the activity bus once again.

But, I’m not alone through this. In fact, I feel very selfish and soulless writing this when I know how much worse so many problems are currently. When I know that I still have a chance at a healthy life, a career, and a family.

I know through it all that this won’t break me as it is breaking so many others. Their chances of life, stable income, college, and careers. It is so unprecedented to end like this. I don’t want to not see my friends who are moving ever again, but it is the smart and safe decision to do so.

I leave my intermediate high school keeping my memories close to my heart along with recognition and sorrow for those hurting. I am saying goodbye NAI knowing that, although it is unfair, it is okay.  I might not get to say these goodbyes in person, but they’re still from my heart even if they’re from my keyboard.