The summer of 2020 looked a little different for Taylor students, but despite plans being cancelled or adjusted, this summer was not put to waste.
Sophomore Becca Petrucelli had a summer that she will never forget. Since many restrictions were put in place as a result of the pandemic, she felt pessimistic at the start of summer.
That began to change when her friend Erica Morman invited her to go on a road trip across the western part of the U.S. which included visiting a friend in San Diego. After finals were officially over, Petrucelli and Morman got in a car and started driving to Denver all the way from Michigan. They also got to visit Utah and Arizona, stopping to see Zion and the Badlands before reaching San Diego.
From jamming out to “Suit and Jacket” by Judah and the Lion and “Swim (Reprise)” by Valley during long drives to jumping off bridges, Petrucelli would describe her summer as a summer of freedom and defying the odds.
“We’re adults who are out in the middle of nowhere, and if we want to pull over and take pictures, we can do that,” Petrucelli said. “Also if we want to pull over and longboard we can do that too; there’s just so much abounding freedom.”
In addition to travelling out West, she visited Atlanta and the mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. When she wasn’t driving over 1,000 miles across the country, she took time to explore her hometown such as finding a favorite breakfast place or bonding with her coworkers.
One of the most significant moments of her trip had to be in San Diego. She was on her trip around the same time the Black Lives Matter protests were taking place and witnessed people protesting for the sake of seeking equality and justice for the Black community.
“We literally walked past a group of people and there was one guy who was talking to them and he was telling them, ‘We’re all going to wear masks and we’re going to stay six feet apart, but we’re just going to go down to the beach, and we’re going to get in a circle and we’re going to pray.” Petrucelli said.
To Petrucelli, it was eye-opening to see this happening in real time as opposed to only hearing about it on the news.
Through her journey this summer, if there was one lesson that would continue to stick with Petrucelli, it would be to make time for people so you can make time for memories.
Junior Hope Thomas' experience with her internship at the women’s shelter showed her the incredible ways in which God works through forming relationships with the ministry and the women who lived there.
Thomas was planning on doing the internship before COVID-19 hit and she was hoping to be more involved, but despite regulations and restrictions brought on by COVID-19, it did not stop her from being the hands and feet of Jesus at the ministry.
From learning the stories of the women by running at the park or eating meals together, Thomas noted, “I think I’m always surprised by the beauty that comes out of hardship and crisis and they always kind of just sneak up on you in different ways.”
When the protests were going on, the staff came together to pray and discussed the racial injustice happening in America. This showed Thomas how much God loves everyone and desires justice for those who need it.
By the end of the summer, Thomas clearly saw how nothing was a surprise to God, his work is never through and that everybody has their own story.
What started out as someone from a company reaching out to junior Rose White at a career fair turned into a summer internship in Colorado Springs working with satellites.
White would describe her summer as a summer of renewal and trying new things. Not only did White learn a lot about the more artistic side of working with satellites, but she got to form relationships with the other interns there. When White was not working on a project with the company, she took time to get to know her interns during different activities they did together like hiking a Fourteener and going to the Denver aquarium.
Through getting to know her interns, she learned a lot about their beliefs and many of them were not Christians, so she was able to share her faith with them while hiking mountains and spending time together.
“The biggest lesson, number one, is let God be the one who orchestrates your life,” White said… “number two is even when people seem really different from you, you appreciate them for what makes them tick and what they’re passionate about because when I first met my intern friends, I didn’t think I would want to hang out with them… but again, take the time to get to know people because everybody has a story.”
Even when plans for the summer changed and adjusted for the sake of social-distancing, God knew exactly what they would be doing this summer and he was able to use that time for his glory.