News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Grads face college altered by pandemic

This is the second of a two-part series profiling Sisters High School (SHS) graduates who have seen their college experience disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kendra Kemp, SHS Class of 2015, recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Marina del Ray, California, majoring in dance.

Her passion and major lie in one of the fields most affected by COVID-19: the performing arts. “This profession is going to look a lot different after this and I am looking ahead and preparing for the future,” said Kemp.

Kemp has been keeping busy doing her dance classes online and preparing for what auditions look like in the near future, post-graduation. She is in the process of buying equipment for an in-home studio set-up so she can send in audition videos versus auditioning in person.

During this time, Kemp has had some opportunities she never thought possible, including a workshop with choreographer Tina Landon who has worked on a number of musicals and with a number of famous dancers.

“I’ve gotten to have conversations and opportunities that were never on my radar before, including feedback on choreography, because professional working actors and dancers now have the time to give feedback,” said Kemp.

The commencement ceremony for LMU was postponed and was held virtually.

“This time is really a fast track to post-graduation life, figuring out where to go next in an industry that is on hold,” Kemp said.

Kemp misses her in-person dance classes and her family the most while living in Los Angeles.

“I’ve enjoyed working with people virtually but I do miss human interaction the most and hope to continue making plans for the future here in L.A.,” she said.

A junior at the University of Oregon, Maggie Bidasolo is also learning to adapt to the new instruction format for this school year.

“I have had to figure out coordinating study groups because I learn things better by talking through it,” said Bidasolo.

During the school year and beyond, Bidasolo is often running a very busy schedule with a full class load, a football ambassador position with the Oregon Duck Football team, and many other extracurricular activities.

“The social piece of school is huge for me, and it’s been a mental struggle to accept that that has been stripped away,” said Bidasolo.

Bidasolo is trying to keep up with having some sort of structured schedule to her day to cope with the change being home.

“I’ve learned that I have to continue to use my Google calendar and figure out a balance to not work on school all day and take breaks,” she said.

Bidasolo believes that after this period of isolation, it will be interesting to see what the system will look like.

“Hopefully after this time, we can assess what is truly necessary in education and the value of professor’s and student’s time,” said Bidasolo.

Bidasolo has had extra time to reflect on the life she led while in Eugene and feels an immense sense of gratitude.

“I ran at 100 mph during school in Eugene, with school and meetings and socializing, and now I am able to sit and relax and breathe and appreciate that way of doing things, but also slow down and be cautious about what I add back into my schedule because I can’t continue to work that pace,” she said.

Bidasolo plans to continue her work as a football ambassador even with an altered football season. She is also continuing her work as executive director of Youth Movement, developed by the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Business Club, whose mission is “to ignite a generation to be active, motivated and connected to the power of community.”

It is a field day event for Native American youth, which this year went virtual to raise funds for COVID-19 relief in native communities. For more information visit:

Bidasolo wants to keep busy during this time, but also take time to be with her family and slow down and lighten up the crazy schedule she had kept during school.

College students around the world are feeling the effects of COVID-19 in different ways, but these Sisters High School graduates, now college students, are finding ways to adapt and embrace this time before exiting college into the great big world. These students, through their own adaptation and coping mechanisms, are learning things about themselves and their ways of life and what’s truly important — insight that will have an effect on how they conduct themselves in the future.


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