LAUSD students assigned coronavirus video diaries reflect on what they've found, instead of what they've lost

A film class assignment called the "Coronavirus Diaries" provides an intimate look into the lives of high school teens under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Much has been written about the lost generation who came of age during World War I. Fast forward 100 years and we now have teenagers facing what also seems to be a world of disappearing opportunities. Are these kids lost? Or have they found something even more valuable?

A film class assignment called the "Coronavirus Diaries" provides an intimate look into the lives of high school teens under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a peak into their struggles as students.

In her video diary, Dani Fuentes said, "It feels like summer almost. I'm not a very social person."

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The Sun Valley High School sophomore described endless days of playing games, watching videos and her difficulties with "distance learning."

"The classes are more confusing," Fuentes said. "It's a challenge to learn this way. It's definitely difficult."

Her film teacher, Jamal Speakes, said the school shutdown happened so quickly that students did not get a chance to process the enormity of it all.

"Then the questions were what about graduation. What about grad night, Disneyland and prom? I hate to equate it to, but it's like your kids going through a divorce," Speakes said.

The result of this "breakup" has left Fuentes with a loss for enthusiasm over her classes.

"I could be do be doing better. It's hard because I lost all motivation," she said.

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Besides losing her drive, Fuentes said she feels like she's lost sleep, a sense of structure and social groups. But, to say she and her peers haven't gained anything would be false.

"I don't think they're lost at all. I think these kids our resilient. They'll figure it out," Speakes said.

Time at home has given teens a chance to realize just how much their teachers, friends and classes mean to them.

"This particular time gives our students a chance to reflect on what they took for granted," Speakes said.

"I will put much more effort into my classes," Fuentes said.

She said going forward, she';; be less shy, take more chances and face her future with courage.

"Life is too short and you don't know what's going to happen. We didn't know this was going to happen. And there are lot more opportunities that I will take from now on," Fuentes said.
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