Juniors visit ZooLights to gather and socialize


Chloe Ma

Juniors attended ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo to make up for lost social interaction during the pandemic.

Grace Holleb, Health and Wellness Editor

Planned and executed by several parents, a group of 22 juniors visited ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo on Nov. 22, following pandemic guidelines as they socialized with friends and family, who many had not seen in several months. 

U-High parents Hallie Hohner and Laurel Harris Baffa came up with the idea for the event after understanding that the University of Chicago’s restrictions wouldn’t allow U-High to facilitate any in-person events for students to interact, although the administration had tried. 

“The lack of social interaction happening for our students and how Lab still hasn’t managed to come up with anything in person that’s fun in any way, for the kids to do,” Ms. Hohner said, “so we decided — the parents decided — to take it into our own hands.”

This event was not sponsored or organized by U-High. Four parents bought and donated 30 tickets for any juniors to sign up. Students arrived masked at 7 p.m. and social distancing was maintained. The Lincoln Park Zoo would not allow groups to exceed 10 people, so students naturally broke off into small groups. 

“I wasn’t able to attend the junior retreat at school, so I hadn’t seen a lot of these people since March. It was actually really nice to see people,” junior Katie Baffa said. 

Although it was a small group, students were able to talk to friends outside of their normal friend group.

“There were some kids there who probably haven’t seen anybody,” Ms. Hohner said. “Or very many people who finally got to see some people in person or people who you wouldn’t normally see.”

According to Katie, it was a pleasant surprise to see people she didn’t expect to go and she hung out with people that she hadn’t talked to in a while.

Ms. Hohner said, “It was meant to socialize, lighten the mood, and make everyone feel like all hope wasn’t lost.”