Native teenager featured in ‘Younger Individuals of the Pandemic’ anthology

Second year Torrey Pines High School, Sofie Brown, is one of the voices in Young People of the Pandemic, a collection of stories, anecdotes, and poems written by 10- to 21-year-old Americans.

Edited by Nancy Nelson, the book encapsulates a broad spectrum of honest and open responses to the global pandemic, experiences that are both “heartbreaking and heartwarming”. Some contributors described how close was COVID-19, with relatives and friends directly affected by the virus. Many have reflected on the turbulent atmosphere of the summer during the national protests against Black Lives Matter. Everyone wrote about insecurity after their young life was turned upside down in times of quarantines and lockdowns – and they look ahead with hope.

“I firmly believe that the contents of this book show a resilient youth population whose words can be admired as sources of healing and motivation,” wrote Nelson. “As I was editing this book, I became increasingly confident that Gen Z will take this country and the world to a better place.”

Sofie’s piece “Being Gray” takes readers through what they experienced in the first six months of 2020.

“It was really cool to see my name published in such a time-sensitive book,” said Sofie. “I hope people can relate to how I felt and what I went through.”

Sofie, a 2019 graduate of R. Roger Rowe School, finished her academic year and began her sophomore year of distance learning with Torrey Pines. “It was a challenge because I learn visual / tactile and distance learning offers fewer opportunities for my learning style,” she said.

Her published essay began as a school assignment given by her honorary teacher of English, Brianna Camacho. Camacho asked her class to do one final essay on the pandemic and their feelings in June. After reading Sofie’s work, Camacho turned to the Browns and said she wished she could find a paragraph for the play that could be more widely published. Sofie’s mother, Amy, found out about the book Young People in the Pandemic from a call for entries on Facebook – they submitted her essay and it was selected.

Sofie chose to write her essay as a comparative entry for each month, from the blissful ignorance of January and February to the month of June when the restrictions began to lift before the surge in July: “I wanted to share my universal thoughts and feelings and how I’ve seen the pandemic, “she said.

2020 started with the “normal” life that Sofie would hunt for the rest of the year: playing “Pippin” on the show, joining the diving team and going on a ski trip with friends in February: “I never knew that die The duration of the drive home would be the last time I’ll be with these girls for a while. The world would get into a downward spiral in the next few months, ”she wrote.

When the school closed and the nationwide lockdown began on March 13, she remembers naively viewing it as “two weeks off!” Throughout the spring she wrote about feeling “stuck” plowing through a five-book series, cooking, baking, shopping online, and learning to sew. She loved Netflix and watched numerous documentaries and teen dramas.

She often felt isolated and confused.

“The word quarantine would forever contain a PTSD trigger word in my generation,” wrote Sofie. “It was scary, it’s scary.”

She also wrote about the pain she felt as she watched the peaceful protests and destructive unrest that took place after George Floyd’s death in May. She felt sympathy and sadness for people of color in America.

In June she rejoiced when the beaches opened and she could eat pizza again in her favorite pizza. In her essay, she reflects on what she has learned in such an unusual time.

“I’ve learned to take even the smallest moments for granted. I’ve learned that it pays to concentrate on something, ”writes Sofie. “But the most important thing I’ve learned is that life goes on. My life will go on and now I will live it to the fullest. “

Sofie is starting the new year in her sophomore year at Torrey Pines and looks forward to getting back to her normal life after the pandemic. Last year her sewing got on and she learned to sew swimsuits – she discovered a new passion and a new goal of one day having her own swimsuit company. When the pandemic calms down, Sofie is most looking forward to traveling with her mother again.

“I’ve traveled with my mother since I was born and I really miss our travels together,” said Sofie. “I know the world may be a little different, but I want to see it again!”

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