Summer plans revised for Richmond students

Finding ways to cope when plans are cancelled

Covid-19 halted family visits, vacations, job opportunities and other plans for Richmond High School students, who have had to find ways to cope.

Aldo Damian Icazbalceta Reyna, 19, graduated, Richmond High, 2020

“My plans for this summer were to relax for a week before beginning work. I work in landscaping, but I was planning to get a second job painting houses and doing floors. That got postponed because people are not supposed to work close together. I was also planning on going to the park and practicing baseball because I want to pursue a career in baseball. I made plans with some of my high school friends to keep up with conditioning but because of the coronavirus, many of them aren’t allowed out of the house. So I haven’t been able to practice.

I plan to keep my body in shape. I want to be able to make money during the summer, so I can pay off my community college fees quickly. I continue to look for another job and focus on baseball.”

Jose Martinez, 18, graduated, Richmond High 2020

“My plans for this summer included hanging out with my friends and enjoying the summer — before going to college. I planned on working to start saving up money for when I transfer out of community college and go to four-year college. Because of the virus, I wasn’t able to get a job. Meetings to discuss scholarships I received are now online and I have to complete requirements from home. Covid-19 has changed a lot of people’s plans for this summer, but this change has helped me and a lot of other people adapt and overcome times like these.”


Margot Gutierrez, 16, senior, El Cerrito High

“This summer has started like no other. I’m not sure if I needed this break from the social world or if it just made me a bit more upset. This summer was supposed to be my first year working. I had applied for a job with the city of Richmond. In order to get placed in a work site I needed to complete 10 workshops. I attended one workshop and then the pandemic happened and unfortunately we had to start doing the workshops online. Because of the pandemic they have been moving the starting date farther and farther away.”

Jacqueline Guzman, 18, senior, Richmond High

The pandemic made me feel very unmotivated. Preparing for college is hard because we have to do it online. Having to figure out certain things without the people being physically there is harder on me. I struggle a lot because I am the first generation going to college so it’s harder for me to get support from people. I’m not able to physically go to the campus and that affects my motivation. But I am still planning to go to Contra Costa College. I am hoping I am able to experience college life. I want to be able to get support from my professors and have a good time. (This summer) I am able to hang out with friends before going back to school and going to work. I’m not concerned about getting the virus, because the people I hang out with all take good care of themselves, and we all hang out with the same people. We go hiking because some of us don’t like being inside the house, and we want to get things off our minds.”

Angelica Flores, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“I had many plans this summer that are affected by the pandemic. I wanted to go out with friends and go to the Hilltop Fair but because of the virus, it couldn’t happen. I was also supposed to go to Mexico this summer. Because of the virus, I wasn’t able to go. I also had a quarantine birthday and the only people who came to my ‘party’ were the people who live with me at my house.”

Milton Scott, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“Before the pandemic occurred, I had planned on getting a summer job and going out with my friends. The pandemic basically canceled the program I got into for a summer job. Moreover, I haven’t been able to go to school and the pandemic affects that, too.”

Camila Ramos, 16, Sophomore, Richmond High

“I was going to spend my summer going to the gym, going out with my friends and taking a few road trips. I also wanted to visit my cousins in Texas and LA. I was planning on getting a job but for my own safety, my parents don’t want me to get one. The virus has affected where I’ve wanted to travel, where I want to be and what I want to do.”

Jaylon Lotts, 18, junior, DeAnza High

“My plans in the summer before the pandemic were to qualify for both the Arcadia and Stanford track meets. I was also planning on creating a closer bond with my family, who I don’t live with. The virus affected every plan of mine in the sense that I can no longer have physical context with my family and cannot have my track meet.”

Dariana Rojas Cortez, 15, sophomore, Richmond High

“My plans for this summer before the pandemic were to take algebra II at Contra Costa College so, in junior year, I could already be in pre-calculus. I’m the type of learner that has to be in class while learning but the pandemic affected that. I have to take online classes at CCC and it is so much harder to learn in that way. Moreover, I was planning on taking tours of college campuses. It has also affected how much fun I’d be able to have like hanging out with friends and going to the beach.”

Isis Oropeza, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“My family enjoys vacationing, especially when we go to Disneyland, as it helps us bond. But our summer plans were stopped by Covid-19. It was really disappointing. The place where I can create memories with my family was taken away from me. I want to be able to look back to the times I went to Disneyland with my mom and grandma, but I guess this year won’t hold any summer memories.”

Anabella Carrillo, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“This year, I finally turned 16 and was going to look for a summer job. This was important because it would really help my mom. My mom is a single mother. Now that I am old enough to work, I should help her out with bills. Once the coronavirus appeared, a lot of my plans went down the drain. I was bummed out that my most important plan was not going to happen.”

Tenayah Crockett, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“The only plan I had this summer was to work, and the coronavirus changed that a lot. I was going to continue my job at Popeye’s and relax whenever I could, but that changed when my job became more intricate. Before the coronavirus, my job was calm, but once it was present, we were forced to wear protection, such as gloves and masks, and refuse service to anyone who didn’t have protection, which created problems in my workspace. Customers would get really mad that we refused to serve them. It stresses me out that I have to work much faster while taking care of a few angry adults. This was not the relaxing summer I was expecting to have.”

Kristal Gomez, 15, sophomore, Richmond High

“I had no definite plans for the summer, but I was really expecting to be able to hang out with my friends. I wanted to see them, make sure we can still laugh with each other the same way we do at school, but with Covid-19, we can’t. We have video chats but it isn’t the same. It isn’t the same because we get distracted while talking. We’re on Instagram rather than talking to each other.”

Angela Vargas, 15, sophomore, Richmond High

“My summers are always spontaneous. I always say I don’t have plans but during the summer, plans just appear, making my summer fun. I could easily just talk to my friends about going to the beach and the next day, that is where we would be. With the coronavirus, there is no possibility of that. It frustrates me, knowing that this summer will be boring, with me stuck in the house and no spontaneous adventures.”

Harrison Rivera, 18, graduated from Richmond High

“My plans for this summer were to visit El Salvador after leaving six years ago when I was 12. I was going to see my mom and family again to celebrate my graduation. Due to Covid-19, the airports in El Salvador are closed and are no longer letting people in or out the country, canceling all my plans for the summer. I’m hoping to be able to go back by May 2021, to celebrate with my mom on her birthday as well as reconnect with family.”

Angela Nayeli Garcia, 18, graduated from Richmond High, 2020

“I had planned to travel to Mexico and visit my family. I had intended to celebrate my graduation as well as my birthday with them. My plans changed due to Covid-19, which closed most airlines and international flights. Fear of traveling and getting infected also contributed to my decision. I’m hoping to be able to reschedule for December 2020.”

Stephanie Garcia, 17, senior, Richmond High

“I had an amazing summer planned. In June, I was supposed to have the time of my life in Mexico. After returning from Mexico I was supposed to visit my dream college, Gonzaga University and explore Washington more. (Because of the virus) I’m stuck here the entire summer. I hope I can reschedule my trip to Mexico. As for Washington, I still want to visit, it’s such a beautiful state whether or not I get into my dream college.”

Jorge Ramirez, 18, Sacramento State freshman, from Richmond, CA.

“I was supposed to go to Mexico during the summer to play for my uncle’s soccer team. I was really excited as it would’ve been my first time playing soccer in a different country. I was also looking forward to seeing my extended family and celebrating my graduation with them. This would’ve also been my third time going to Mexico to visit my family, something I was actually excited about. Since Covid-19 shut down most airlines and out of country flights, my plans were canceled. For the time being I don’t plan on rescheduling my trip to Mexico due to the events happening around the country.”

Neftali Sanchez, 17, senior, Richmond High

“I had planned to go to Panama with a program I previously had applied to called Summer Search. The program was going to test the participants on how we handle different cultures, languages and new environments. The trip would have been 18 days and I would be living with strangers, making new friends. Due to Covid-19, the program canceled all trips and went virtual. When school closed, my mom thought it would be a good idea to spend some time in Mexico, and so I traveled out here before everything got bad. I’m still in Mexico and due to international flights not operating at the moment, I’m kind of stuck here for the time being. Thankfully Summer Search is giving us the option to take the trip next summer, if things get better that is.”

Five students from Richmond High School, instructed by Writing Coach Carol Pogash, have been working with reporters from EdSource (  to produce stories about teens and education in the West Contra Costa Unified School District this summer. They are David Sanchez, Valeria Escheveirria, Karina Mascorro, Ronishlla Maharaz and Marina Knowles.