Unspoken Heroes

Spring-Ford students exhibit remarkable courage as they help their community by working essential jobs.


Photo courtesy of wegmans.com

Spring-Ford students are essential workers around the district at stores such as Wegmans.

Amanda Huxta, Staff Writer

To many people, the COVID-19 quarantine feels like the end of the world. However, several Spring-Ford students do not have the luxury of staying home until the crisis has ended. 

The world has, in fact, not stopped spinning, and these students have jobs that the government has deemed important enough to stay open. The teens demonstrate a great deal of bravery as they risk their lives to help keep the economy afloat.

“It’s more stressful now than ever,” Spring-Ford sophomore Wegmans employee Lydia Orme explaineds, “but my bosses and coworkers are all very understanding.”  

On March 12, students of Spring-Ford rejoiced as a two-week break was announced, a measure taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This excitement quickly fizzled out, as the nationwide quarantine extended, and fear began to take root. In these dangerous times, nurses and doctors have been celebrated for their hard work in a dangerous job. While these professionals deserve credit, there are many other essential business workers that are often overlooked.

Those other essential workers populate the grocery and food industry.

Tenth grader Avery Amerine is one of these unspoken heroes. Amerine works at Wegmans, where he is constantly exposed to other people. Wegmans, like most stores, has begun to take precautions to ensure the virus does not spread. 

“We have a wellness check every time we have a shift, and we have to clean our station every 30-to-45 minutes” Amerine explains. 

The stress of getting sick is not the only concern to the teens.

Jacob Conforti works at Oaks Pizza, a relatively small business beloved by locals. However, the added pressure of less customers and reduced stock has greatly decreased the margin for errors.  

“My boss made big changes to the restaurant, including shutting down earlier which results in less money,” Conforti states. “We can’t make any mistakes with the order because we are not making as much money as usual.” 

Luckily, Conforti claims that his bosses have been very understanding. In fact, this seems to be a trend within the working population of students. Amerine describes his managers as “flexible” and “accepting.” Several bosses have apparently been empathizing much more with their staff than before. 

“It’s not that big of a deal if you can’t work out of fear of getting sick,” McDonald’s employee Vivian Fanfera explained. “If you want a position that doesn’t interact with people, they try to get you one to the best of their abilities.”

It appears humanity has been brought together in this period of crisis. Amerine says customers have been “very understanding and cooperative” in these troubling times. Conforti agrees with this statement, citing an increase in tips as a show of support for the workers’ situation. 

Of course, there are always outliers, and fear can make people irrational.

“I’ve had groceries thrown at me, and I’ve been cursed at,” Orme said. “One lady even refused to remain behind the yellow line six feet away, and my bosses could not get her to comply”.

Even with the natural worry that comes with working during a pandemic, all essential workers interviewed have shown extraordinary bravery. Out of five workers spoken to, not a single student claimed to fear working enough to stop. 

“Honestly, working right now is very difficult, but I’m glad I can help older people and people more likely to be harmed by the virus,” Orme says. “If we all work hard and do what we need to do, we can kill this virus”.