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The First Day Of School Is Here. This Is Why I'm Hopeful

Three children stand at a railing looking over a fountain and L.A. City Hall with their backs to the camera.
The little Galindos experience L.A.'s Grand Park during the pandemic. Now, it's back to in-person school.
(Erick Galindo
LAist )
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I’m standing on the streets of Downey on the last night of summer break, smiling because I can’t wait to see what happens next.

In the morning, the little Galindos will return to school for the first time since everything closed. Oh, you remember that. Pandemic pandemonium. Shelter in place. “Do not go in there!”

It felt like a horror movie!

And even though some people like to act like the world is still ending, I’m feeling very hopeful. I don’t have a particular reason to feel that way.

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But I am.

I’m very hopeful.

My niece Dynah is starting her first year of Downey High. And she’s taking French. She made sure to tell me twice like, “Tio, did I tell you I’m taking French?”

Dynah is very excited about school. She’s always loved school and being a social person.

My nephew Angel just turned 15. And he’s less excited because he loves not going to school. But he was happy that he got placed in honors English and math and AP history. “It means I’m going to be rich,” he told my sister.

Angel and Dynah are cousins who were raised in the same house most of their lives by a village of people. So they are very similar in many ways. They are loud, for example. Joyous! They are also very brave.

But Dynah likes a challenge. She loves to take on the world. And Angel loves to chill. He loves to be wherever he’s at.

Like when the COVID vaccine was approved for their age group, Dynah rushed to get it even though she was the most scared. And Angel wanted to rush because he was supposedly looking forward to it, but instead waited a few weeks.

The most important rule about school is always wear my mask.
— Adrian

Then there is my littlest nephew, Adrian. He’s Dynah’s little brother and the littlest Galindo. Adrian isn’t yet old enough for a COVID shot but he’s starting the fifth grade in the morning.

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And the adults in his life have been hammering it in his head all week so I was not surprised but impressed that Adrian told me he knows, “The most important rule about school is always wear my mask.”

Adrian is a sweet boy with a lot of heart and wonder. He’s never had much adversity in his life. But he’s up for the challenge of this new world.

Maybe that’s why I’m so hopeful. For Adrian, you know? And Dynah and Angel and all the other kids just starting this great adventure of life.

Maybe I’m hopeful because they need us to be. And, if I’m being honest, I need us to be, too.

What questions do you have about Southern California?