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Take the Mic: What's it like to move to a new state and start a new school in a pandemic?

courtesy of Carol Venable
Nascha Martinez, 13, moved to Washington from Colorado last April and then began attending West Sound Academy in Poulsbo during a time of remote learning. She describes the challenges of that and how one email made all the difference.

The pandemic has been an isolating experience for many of us. It’s even harder if you’re trying to start out in a new place and build a social circle.

That’s what 13-year-old Nascha Martinez faced when she moved here from Breckenridge, Colo., and began attending a brand-new school, West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, during a time of remote learning. She shared her story for KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices project.

“I was pretty nervous because being a new student is hard enough,” she said. “I thought it would be way harder online.”

In spite of those concerns, she said the school year started out OK, and the teachers were doing what they could to make this “bonkers year” a good one.

“That being said, I still wasn’t really sure about the whole 'making friends part,’ ” she said.

Then she got an email that was a simple gesture, but one that made all the difference. Click on the audio above to hear Nascha’s story.

We’d like to hear from more teens and kids about their lives right now – hard times, joyful times and everything in between. For more information on how to submit a story for the Take the Mic series, click here.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.