This week, 8th-grade students at Jacquelyn Y. Kelley Discovery Charter School in Philadelphia's Parkside section returned to full-time in-person learning.
BRIAN TAFF: Students about to embark on the next phase of their academic careers were not about to let the pandemic dictate how this phase ends. A group of eighth-graders in Philadelphia heading back to the classroom now for the first time this year for a very specific reason. Action News reporter Katherine Scott has the story.
KATHERINE SCOTT: This isn't the eighth grade year they envision, but these kids are determined to make the best of it.
- I was hoping for it to happen.
KATHERINE SCOTT: And now it has. This week eighth graders at JYK Discovery Charter School in Parkside return to full time in-person learning after an unprecedented year.
TONIA MASON: It's been a weird, kind of difficult, and very disappointing.
- No, we have felt a little distant, but and being able to have the students come in person, we get that community back.
KATHERINE SCOTT: The rest of the school remains a hybrid or virtual. The school resumed on a hybrid schedule in March and felt it was important to bring the eighth graders back full time starting this week to finish out their last year on campus.
YVONNE FARRELL: Eighth grade in this school is actually a really big year. We're leaving Discovery. We're going to have new experiences somewhere else, and you know the eighth grade trip was supposed to be actually in May.
KATHERINE SCOTT: But school President, Zakiyah Vickers, explains for the second year in a row, the class trip was canceled. They had planned to go to Mexico.
ZAKIYAH VICKERS: We research it all make it into a project, so before they go they really know where to go.
YVONNE FARRELL: Discovery is all about discovering, and so we go around the world to discover different cultures and different places. So we understand the world better.
KATHERINE SCOTT: [INAUDIBLE] said what she did discover this year is how much she misses the classroom and her friends.
YVONNE FARRELL: Human interaction is very important to me because when Zoom was happening, I was very sad, and bored, and I didn't-- I hated Zoom to be frank, but now that we get to come back, it's actually really important that we see each other before we leave.
KATHERINE SCOTT: Graduation is happening in June and then next fall they all head off to high school. In Parkside, Katherine Scott, Channel6 Action News.