Unity Students Participate in New York Historical Society “History Responds” Program

By Lindsey Daly

April 19, 2020 -

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The New York Historical Society recently invited students to keep and share diary entries on their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic through their “History Responds” program. They encouraged teens to express themselves through a variety of formats including writing, video, music and visual art. This collection of reflective pieces may eventually be used at the New York Historical Society in order to inform future generations of the historical moment we are currently living through.

Several middle school students participated in this unique opportunity as one of their fabulous Friday choice board activities. One student described the situation as “unreal” and went on to discuss how quickly things can change. She said, “it’s definitely scary seeing how quick our world can be turned upside down. One day I was happily enjoying school and the next, I was holed up in my house with nothing but fear.” She also expressed her desire to help. “Every time I’m at a store it makes me think about the people who are still working during this time, even with the fear of them getting the coronavirus. It makes me want to help, and I wish there was more I can do.” 


Another middle school student spoke about her hopes for the future when the pandemic has subsided and quarantine orders are lifted. “Hopefully everyone is much more grateful when life becomes normal again, because you don't realize what you have...until you can't have it anymore.”  

As troubling as this time is for adults, it can feel even more helpless and confusing for children and teens. Through activities such as writing and art, teens can express themselves and use these creative pieces as coping mechanisms to make sense of the world around them.

If you know a teen who would like to participate, you can email completed diaries to teens@nyhistory.org.


You may also physically mail your diary to:

New-York Historical Society

Attn: Teen Programs

170 Central Park West

New York, NY 10024