Good News from 2020

The Dowling community shares their favorite parts of a difficult year


Caroline Schultz, Staff Writer

2020 was a year no one could have predicted. High hopes for a new decade morphed into worries about our health, concerns for our country, and a longing for normal to return to us. No one escaped 2020 unharmed by its cruelty; however, there were moments of happiness stashed in the past year. Within the Dowling community, many experienced something fruitful or joyous that made 2020 just a little more bearable. 


For some of us, it was the little things in 2020 that made a hard year just a little bit better. 


“The best part of 2020 was 1D turning 10 years old,” Adowek Ajoung (12) said.

1D superfan Adowek Ajoung (12) showing off her One Direction poster. Photo Credit: Adowek Ajoung.

“I got bangs!,” Sarah Wicker (12) said.

Sarah Wicker (12) sporting her new bangs! Photo credit: Sarah Wicker.

“I learned how to cook! Over quarantine, my family all took a different night to cook, so it forced me to learn how. It’s been good for me, especially with college coming up,” Jake Olson (12) said. 

“Christmas baskets were my favorite part of 2020. It was super cool and I’m glad we got to do it,” Piper Wise (12) said. 

“I got a new car!,” Jeison James (12) said.

Jeison James (12) posing with his brand new car! Photo credit: Jeison James.

“Exempting my Biology final,” Allie Nedved (9) said. 

“The best part of my 2020 was winter formal,” Sarah Grochala (12) said.

Sarah Grochala (12) with her winter formal group. Photo credit: Sarah Grochala.

“I got a new puppy!” Maria Eide (10) said. 

Maria Eide’s (10) new puppy, Rocky! Photo credit: Maria Eide.

“I saw the movie Soul,” Meghan McDonald (12) said. 

“I met one of my best friends this year. We started hanging out almost exclusively with each other to minimize spread and protect our families. With all of the time we’ve spent together, he’s become one of my closest friends and I one of his,” Lele Nigg (12) said. 


Despite the challenges 2020 presented, some persevered and achieved amazing accomplishments. 


“I never thought a pandemic would be the driving force that inspired me to found a nonprofit organization; however, it reminded me that challenges veer you towards rewarding outcomes. Being able to formulate Face Mask Mist and partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Des Moines and Give was not only a revitalizing way to enter into 2021 but the best way to end 2020,” Karleigh Osborn (12) said.

Karleigh Osborn (12) at Give debuting her nonprofit. Photo credit: Karleigh Osborn.

“I got my masters! I graduated from college!,”  Journalism Teacher Mrs. Triplett said. 

“Winning the 200 back at club swimming state,” Abby Wilcox (9) said. 


Although the class of 2021 struggled with an abnormal senior year, some made big decisions about their next chapter. 


“I got into my dream school!,” Logan Flori (12) said.

Logan Flori (12) flexing her acceptance letter from Washington University. Photo credit: Logan Flori.

“Committing to Kentucky to play softball,” Margaret Tobias (12) said.

Margaret Tobias (12) signing with Kentucky Softball. Photo credit: Greg Dickle.

“My commitment to Nebraska to play soccer,” Cece Villa (12) said.

Cece Villa (12) committing to play soccer with the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Photo Credit: Cece Villa.


A few students and teachers were able to enjoy a vacation before quarantine settled in, and some accommodated their trips to fit CDC guidelines. 


“The best part of 2020 was my trip to Costa Rica before COVID-19 hit,” Kristen Wenham (12) said. 

“Going to Y Camp with my family, everyone had a fun time with that,” Spanish Teacher Mr. Peterson said. 

“I went to New Zealand to visit my sister before lockdown began,” Ava Vaske (12) said. 

Ava Vaske (12) and her sister exploring New Zealand pre-quarantine. Photo credit: Ava Vaske.

“The best part of 2020 was going to our family’s house in Okoboji,” Paddy Sullivan (12) said. 

High schoolers all across the world experienced an unusual school year. However, Dowling students found benefits from learning at home, as well as excitement to see their classmates when they returned to school in-person. 


“I made some online friends!,” Sofia Manzano (12) said. 

“Being able to do online school with my dogs,” Ellen Clark (12) said. 

“Getting to go back to school in-person and see my friends,” Mikey Chase (12) said.

“The best part of 2020 was online school,” Lauren Havlik (12) said.

“Going back to school and seeing people again,” Luke Powell (12) said. 


Despite a school year full of restrictions, some student-athletes’ favorite part of 2020 was simply getting to do the sport they loved. 


“Being able to play baseball even in this craziness,” Grant Mullenbach (12) said. 

“The best part of 2020 was having a full dive season,” Shelby Breen (12) said.

Shelby Breen (12) diving at meet against Waukee. Photo credit: Chris Pose.

“Parents being able to watch our meets via live stream,” Mary Sweetman (12) said. 

“Being part of the swim team,” Jillian Stewart (10) said. 

“Getting third at the state meet!” Allexa Larson (12) said.


Dowling Girls’ Swim and Dive team taking third at the Iowa high school state meet. Photo credit: Chris Pose.

If 2020 gave us anything positive, besides a COVID test, it was some extra time on our hands. Students used this time to become better versions of themselves. 


“Becoming more educated on social issues and the world around me,” Hannah Smith (12) said. 

“The best part of 2020 for me was learning more about myself,” Claire Lanser (12) said. 

“Being able to take more time for myself and being able to take a break and reflect on my daily life,” Lizzie Johnson (12) said. 

“I had more time to focus on what’s really important,” Ellie Hurley (12) said.  

“Having a month break from everything and being able to clear my mind and focus on myself during quarantine in April,” Chase Flori (11) said. 

“Growing closer to my faith,” Peyton Dueling (12) said. 

“Personal growth, I feel like I learned a lot about myself,” Stella Lodgson (12) said. 


Due to quarantine and CDC guidelines, most were stuck at home for part of the year. However, an overwhelming number of students said that the extra time they got to spend with their family and friends was the best part of 2020. 


“Getting to spend more time playing basketball outside with my brother,” Riley O’Halloran (12) said. 

“Going through the pandemic taught me a lot and brought me closer to my friends and family,” Maria Eide (10) said.

“Being able to spend more time with my family before I go to college,” Grace Marshall (12) said. 

“Getting time during quarantine with my siblings who don’t usually live at home anymore for that long,” Kelsey Hoey (12) said. 

“Spending time with my niece and nephew,” Julianne Van Arnum (12) said. 

“I got to know my friends a lot better because they were the only people I was allowed to see,” Paige Hobbs (12) said. 


2020 was a year filled with abnormalities and challenges no one could have ever imagined. The struggles our world faced this year should not be downplayed or ignored. However, from adversity grows prosperity, and we saw examples of this all around us.  It’s important to acknowledge the bad times, but equally important to celebrate the good. 2020 was a year we will remember forever, and despite a plethora of positive moments, most are not sad to see it go.


“The best part of 2020 was the end,” Jason Britten (12) said.