Class of 2020: Hopkins equestrian team captain balances riding, remote learning

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, rides Sangria Rose on a road near her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, stands beside Sangria Rose at her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, rides Sangria Rose in a meadow near her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, rides Sangria Rose on a road near her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, rides Sangria Rose on a road near her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, rides Sangria Rose on a road near her home in Goshen on May 12. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rory Flynn, who is the captain of the equestrian team at Hopkins Academy, stands beside some of her awards displayed in the horse barn at her home in Goshen, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/21/2020 10:50:27 AM

Editor’s note:Over the past four years, the Class of 2020 has made their voices heard, advocating for women’s rights, against gun violence and for action on climate change. They’ve also shone in the classroom, on stages and on playing fields. And then, just as senioritis was supposed to set in, along with a season of celebration, the global pandemic struck. For the next few days, the Gazette is spotlighting students in the Class of 2020 — congratulations to all the graduates and their families.

HADLEY — Living in Goshen, where high-speed internet remains hit or miss, Rory Flynn has had to deal with some extra challenges during the shutdown as a student attending Hopkins Academy by school choice.

And while Flynn may not have as much access to 21st-century technology as some of her peers, her life on a farm has meant that she’s still able to ride horses, a passion she brings to Hopkins as captain of its equestrian team.

Not being in school for the past two months, though, has made it harder to feel connected to the teachers and the assignments they give.

“Working at home is a lot different from being in a classroom,” Flynn said. “I’ve basically been learning by myself with a computer.”

Zoom meetings have helped Flynn stay in touch with and continue the personal relationships with her classmates.

Talking with friends using FaceTime and her cellphone has given her a new insight into the importance of modern devices, but she’s also aware of how important in-person learning remains to students.

“We didn’t realize how much school brings us together,” Flynn said. “Doing assignments on your own time, you’re disconnected from that environment. I miss being in the classes.”

Flynn has found herself driving to the Goshen Town Hall parking lot to get a Wi-Fi hotspot when she’s not riding.

Other members of her equestrian team have not been so fortunate to keep riding, since the pandemic has meant local riding stables are closed to the public. All of the spring shows for the equestrian team through the regional Athletic Equestrian League have been canceled.

Flynn said she intends to study elementary education, with a minor in equine science, at Houghton College in Houghton, New York, in the fall. These plans are still on, and she hopes they won’t change.

Perhaps most upsetting for Flynn and other seniors is how they will miss out on traditions that have been part of Hopkins, such as senior field day competitions against Smith Academy, practicing for graduation exercises during Senior Week and having classmates sign a copy of the yearbook.

“We all miss being together,” Flynn said.




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