Students Pursue Their Passions Despite COVID-19


Seniors, Jake McGraw ’21, Maxine Montoya ’21 and junior Livi Edwards ’22 have varied interests across the arts, academics, and sports.

Jake McGraw ‘21 discovered his passion for the arts in 8th grade and recognized this was something “he knew he wanted to do;” now a senior, he participates in the Bolles band and theatre, and was recently announced Homecoming King.

The arts are a huge part of his life, he says, “when I’m on a stage, I feel alive, excitement that I don’t feel about anything else, the feeling you get when you’re performing is such a unique feeling and I love it so much.”

Junior Livi Edwards (‘22) imagines a future in the medical field, specifically to become a Neurosurgeon. Her focus is on her academic career for college.

Edwards exemplifies the model academic student, and this year, she undertook a rigorous academic course load that includes six advanced placement (AP) courses: English, History, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, and Chemistry.

Cross-country star Maxine Montoya (‘21) has been having ups and downs since the start of COVID-19 and with the new school schedule. She takes a leap of faith as the new year begins to roll through, having sports and school change.

McGraw auditioned for the virtual production this year, Game of Tiaras through Microsoft Teams and earned the role Smeagol. “Performing is definitely different.” McGraw says, “We can only use our upper bodies, or what is visible on camera.” He also talks about cast members transitioning online throughout the play.

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Don’t be afraid of rejection. If it’s your passion, pursue it

— Jake McGraw ('21)

McGraw wants the audience to feel the emotion of a performance; as one of his previous directors said, “you don’t have to feel like the characters feeling, you just need the audience to feel it.”

His pre-show routine is described as “hyping himself up” for a performance, “because you’re about to go perform your soul out to a crowd of strangers.”

Since COVID-19 forced the school into hybrid learning, Edwards has had to adapt and adjust how she sees teachers, her time management, and her work being primarily online.

During COVID-19, our computers have replaced the use of paper to prevent the spread of the virus. The decline of student and teacher use of paper is better for the environment. She expressed her thoughts on paper being less used, “ I am more of a paper person, so I am trying to adjust.”

She serves as a member of the Honor Council. She explains the changes the honor council has made because of COVID-19 and how glad she is to be a part of the process. Edwards states, “The Honor Code is a privilege to have here at Bolles and is something that I will work hard for in order to maintain and enforce it.”

Montoya explains, masks are now required to be worn right before the races begin, which is different than what it is usually like. “Right when you get on the line they expect you to have the mask on,” she begins, “they send you off in waves every 30 seconds.” Once they are on the line Montoya said, they are allowed to throw the mask to the side and run when their group gets called.

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Competition is necessary in order to run good times, it’s extremely difficult to get a personal best when running by yourself.

— Maxine Montoya ('21)

The practices are much like the meets, distanced. Everyone spreads apart during warmups and core workouts. When they run, they get into the same speed groups, “so there’s not too many people running together at once.”

Maxine continued to run even during the Spring. “I personally maintained my fitness during last year’s quarantine track season,” Montoya says. She wanted to increase her strength so “I’d have more stamina when I returned to harder workouts in the fall that will help with improvement.”

McGraw says the arts have taught him to appreciate the little things in life. His advice to anyone who wants to pursue the arts is, “Just go for it, the auditions are the scariest part” McGraw says, “don’t be afraid of rejection. If it’s your passion, pursue it.”

Edwards’ advice on contacting teachers is to go during Activities instead of Zero Hour, as there is more time to ask questions. Edwards also explains that her planner has been a key player in managing her time with all her various activities and obligations.

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The Honor Code is a privilege to have at Bolles and I will work hard in order to maintain and enforce it.

— Livi Edwards ('22)

Montoya hopes that during COVID-19, “enough people come out to race so we can experience the high competition races we need.” She explains, “Competition is necessary in order to run good times, it’s extremely difficult to get a personal best when running by yourself.

COVID-19 has influenced these exemplary students in their respective interests and passions, they are hopeful that activities may return to normal over the course of the year.