(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)August 9, 2022
High Schoolers Document Pandemic Struggles in a Powerful Memoir Collection
MAHWAH, N.J. – Fear. Loneliness. Racism. Confusion. Depression. Anxiety. For many, these were the very real, secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, suffered by none more so than vulnerable young people who struggled to make sense of their lives while the presence of the virus fundamentally changed their daily routines and even their understanding of the world. Their heartfelt stories of grief and resilience are memorialized in a transformative writing project, The Class of COVID-19: Unmasked, which will be published digitally and in paperback through Amazon.
The primary purpose of the project, which was led by Ramapo College adjunct instructor Shawn Adler, was to collect narratives from high school students across the state that document the many different ways the pandemic impacted them over the past two-plus years. Students from more than 300 New Jersey high schools were invited to write about their experiences and submit their narratives to Ramapo College for publication. From the initial outbreak in the region to the arrival of the vaccines, these stories chronicled the living history since early 2020 as conveyed through some of the state’s most vulnerable voices.
“By inviting students to publish their stories, Ramapo College has told an entire generation of students that they are listening, that through narrative we can all be the heroes of our own stories, even and especially when things seem most out of control,” said Adler. “These stories are the stories of New Jersey — its pain and, ultimately, its strength.”
A total of 48 stories will be published as part of the project, including the primary collection of 30 that will be available for purchase on Amazon in paperback ($10.95) and Kindle ($3.95) format. An additional 18 stories will be published on the College’s website (see ramapo.edu/theclassofcovid19/). All profits will donated to the Ramapo We Care Program, which is available to Ramapo College students who are experiencing food insecurity or need assistance addressing financial challenges or other basic needs. We Care Program resources include the campus Food Pantry, Clothing Closet, and Student Relief Fund.
The Class of COVID-19: Unmasked memoir project organized by Ramapo College is an extension of two previous high school-specific volumes of COVID memoirs, which were published in 2020 and 2021. These collections were featured on NBC News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Star Ledger, NJ 101.5, People Magazine and others, while being celebrated at every level of government from Governor Phil Murphy, to Congress, to President Joe Biden.
About Ramapo College
Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.
Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.
Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels. Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market.
Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
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