New Art Exhibit Shows How East Lansing Students Are Staying Strong During Pandemic

Jan 27, 2021

If you shop at some downtown East Lansing businesses in the next month, you might see photos on display taken by East Lansing High School students and staff.

They’re part of a community art exhibit focusing on the theme of “ELHS Family Strong,” or what has kept people going during the COVID-19 pandemic.


WKAR’s Sophia Saliby spoke with Alle Bazela, a sophomore at East Lansing High School. One of her photos is being displayed downtown.

Interview Highlights

On What Her Photo Of Her Holding A “Friends”-Themed Monopoly Game Relates To The Theme Of The Exhibit

It relates to the theme by me loving the TV show, "Friends," and me and my family love to play board games. And it was something that connected us during the pandemic, so I thought it was a great way to show everybody what kept me strong while everybody was apart.

On What Virtual Learning Is Like

It's very different compared to how everybody went to school before the pandemic. And we just log into a zoom meeting, and our teachers do the lesson, and we're all apart and we try to understand everything from a different perspective. We definitely have less time to learn everything, so that's been difficult.

On What Adults Should Know About What It’s Like To Be A High School Student Right Now

I think other people should know that everybody thinks that online school is easier than being in person, but it's as difficult or even more difficult trying to adapt to different learning styles. So, I would just say to be patient if you have someone in high school because it's definitely more difficult and hard to adapt to for some people.

Interview Transcript

Sophia Saliby: This is All Things Considered on WKAR. I’m Sophia Saliby.

If you shop at some downtown East Lansing businesses in the next month, you might see photos on display taken by East Lansing High School students and staff.

They’re part of a community art exhibit focusing on the theme of “ELHS Family Strong,” or what has kept people going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alle Bazela is a sophomore at East Lansing High School. One of her photos is being displayed downtown. Thank you for being here.

Alle Bazela: Thanks for having me.

Saliby: First, your photo is of you holding a "Friends"-themed Monopoly board game, how does that relate to the theme of staying strong for you?

Bazela: It relates to the theme by me loving the TV show, "Friends," and me and my family love to play board games. And it was something that connected us during the pandemic, so I thought it was a great way to show everybody what kept me strong while everybody was apart.

Saliby: You were a part of organizing this exhibit, where did the idea come from?

Bazela: It came from our teacher Ms. Carroll in our digital photography class, and she wanted to create something to help East Lansing small businesses because a lot of them were struggling and didn't have much of a chance of making it through the pandemic. So, our whole class wanted to help them and try and get them to have more business, and that's where we came up with the idea.

Saliby: What's it been like spending nearly a year of your high school experience in quarantine?

Bazela: It's definitely been different, but fortunately for me, I've adjusted very well to the change of online school and not seeing everybody that I used to see every single day.

Saliby: Is there something that you would consider the most challenging part of it?

Bazela: I think the most challenging part is not seeing everybody how I used to be.

Saliby: And have you learned anything about yourself?

Bazela: I've definitely learned that I've become more patient with learning online and definitely became more self-independent with schoolwork and everything.

Saliby: Most of the people listening to this interview will have not had to remote learn during a pandemic. So, can you maybe describe a little bit more about what that experience is like, going to classes, working with teachers, other students, but all virtual?

Bazela: It's very different compared to how everybody went to school before the pandemic. And we just log into a Zoom meeting, and our teachers do the lesson, and we're all apart and we try to understand everything from a different perspective. We definitely have less time to learn everything, so that's been difficult.

Everybody does their best with trying to do their work and East Lansing has been very helpful with trying to get students to learn and get good grades, doing everything online.

Saliby: Has the pandemic changed the way you thought about your future, either college or career-wise?

Bazela: It's definitely changed my way of trying to think of how everything is going to work in the future, but nothing has changed of how I want to do everything.

Saliby: What do you want the adults listen to this interview to know about being a high school student in this kind of difficult time with so many things going on?

Bazela: I think other people should know that everybody thinks that online school is easier than being in person, but it's as difficult or even more difficult trying to adapt to different learning styles. So, I would just say to be patient if you have someone in high school because it's definitely more difficult and hard to adapt to for some people.

Saliby: Alle Bazela is an East Lansing High School student. Thank you for joining me.

Bazela: Thank you.

Saliby: You can see Alle's photo along with others submitted by students and staff at 15 different downtown businesses.

The exhibit will be up through February 27, and there will be two other community art exhibits later this spring.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.