C0VID-19; WA CLASS OF 2020; Heather Bortolussi on Her Way to U-Mass Amherst

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WestfordCAT asked intern Carolyn Crimmins, a sophomore at Endicott College, to find half a dozen graduating Westford Academy seniors and interview them on camera and in print. We asked how they’re coping with COVID-19 regulations that delayed their graduation ceremony from June 5 to Aug. 7, forced them to cancel their prom, ended spring sports, and required them to cancel a traditional class trip to Disney World. But they were so beyond that.

The featured class members were Jam Cataldo, Lucy Xiao, Elle Whitehead, Caroline Burke, Jack Pappas, and Heather Bortolussi.

Heather Bortolussi, Class of 2020. COURTESY PHOTO

HEATHER BORTOLUSSI, Class of 2020

“It’s a good place to grow.”

What have you been doing so far this summer?

Well, recently I’ve been working at my job at Paul’s Diner. I’ve been working four days a week. So that’s really nice to get out of the house. And my parents have been letting me do that and we’ve all been very careful about exposure and wearing masks at work. I kind of just hang out with the same three people every day, if I ever hang out with people. Kind of keeping it close, I guess. Besides that, I’ve been watching Netflix and baking a lot, cooking. And my work has been keeping me busy so that’s been really good.

How have you been staying healthy?

A lot of my friends from soccer and Nordic skiing, we’ve been running a lot and I always do Sprints with one of my friends at WA sometimes. And I’ll go on runs on the bike path. I’ll just play outside with my brother sometime, like catcher, soccer, anything.

Where are you going to college exactly?

I’m going to UMass Amherst.

 What’s your major?

I’m majoring in environmental science which I’m really excited about, and I‘m not sure yet, but I’m probably going to minor in chemistry.

How did you choose this college?

I guess it was the only one that really jumped out at me. It’s like one of the few colleges I visited and I really liked the area and just the closeness of it. It’s a great school. I like how big it is. At first I was kind of opposed. How many people from WA can go to it? But it would be pretty nice I think to have some familiar faces at the school and just to get a new experience there and I really like Massachusetts.

How has the Covid-19 virus affected you personally?

Well, the second half of senior year is probably the biggest part of that answer. Just cause prom just got canceled, graduation is only with close relatives. We didn’t get to go to Disney. That’s probably it. I don’t think I’ll ever go to Disney then. Just like cause when I was going to go… Just all that senior stuff. I’m kind of over it now but it was kind of the worst when everything was happening.

What are you going to miss the most about WA?

Definitely all of the teachers and seeing my friends every day and all the activities and sports and whatnot — just like the whole community and just all the people there. That was my favorite part. Definitely I’d say just the whole English and science departments specifically…

What extracurricular activities are you going to join?

I was planning on doing club soccer at UMass but I don’t think that’s happening. I started skiing this year so I was going to try and do that again.

How you describe Westford in one word?

Safe and it’s a good place to grow.