It isn’t their fault they don’t know how to open a locker. After all, the class of 2026 matriculated into Marlborough during a year of online learning and has spent only a handful of days attending in-person classes, let alone gathering as an entire grade on campus. From pleated grey skirts to Cafe M’s pancakes, this class of 8th graders has yet to experience many of the traditions of the Marlborough community.
Penny ’26 was just one of many rising 8th graders who found her seventh grade year to be challenging to navigate online.
“Transitioning to Marlborough through Zoom was challenging, because learning through a screen did not have the same factor of engagement as learning in a classroom,” Penny said.
Ava ’26 held a similar viewpoint and reflected on having to adjust to online learning through the course of the year.
“My transition to Marlborough through Zoom was difficult at the beginning because it was my first time using Zoom, but throughout the school year I adapted to it, and it became a normal part of school,” Ava said.
So will the next school year be a better social experience? 8th Grade Level Dean Danielle Blette has high hopes that it will and has prioritized the organization of an in-person welcoming event for the eighth grade, which is set for August 27.
“Making sure that the 8th graders’ sense of community is strong will enable them to have a successful academic year,” Blette said.
The gathering includes icebreaker games and a campus-wide scavenger hunt to acquaint students with each other, as well as Marlborough.
“I’m very excited for the upcoming welcoming event for the eighth graders because it’s going to be the first time I get to see and meet my whole class in person,” Ava said.
Her peer, Penny, also expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming event.
“It’s a much better foot to start the upcoming school year off on compared to last year,” Penny said.
This eagerness to connect despite any obstacles is what Blette believes sets the class of incoming eighth graders apart.
“Despite the challenges of this unusual transition, this class has persevered, shown patience and grace to those around them, and really just rolled with the punches,” Blette said. “They always look on the bright side and celebrate even small successes when they come.” In the words of Blette, the “eager, flexible and resilient” class of 2026 can look forward to a much more “normal” school year—a light at the end of a very long tunnel of the Covid-19 pandemic.