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Numerous students and teachers who had plans for their birthdays this summer were interrupted by COVID-19 and had to reconsider their celebration ideas. One example is sophomore Aurora Muñoz, whose birthday celebration was on May 23, but different from what she said she had planned. Muñoz said she took her birthday from indoors to outdoors with chairs separating guests six feet apart.  

“Although it was not like how I would normally celebrate my birthday, I was still super grateful to have my friends surprise me,” Muñoz said. “When taking the right precautions I still think we were able to have a fun time and make the best out of it.” 

AICE Environmental Management and Biology Honors teacher, Ladonna Vanburen, participated in a few drive-by birthday celebrations, as well as celebrating her own family birthdays. She said on May 2 her family celebrated her daughters birthday through a drive-by event. 

“We celebrated birthdays by doing drive-bys, Vanburen said. “They were a lot of fun but certainly not the same as hugging family and friends, but enough that we were able to connect.”

Vanburen said that she was following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines at the time to ensure safety during the pandemic. The CDC warns against large gatherings and advises interactions take place outside to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The most fun part of the drive-by celebrations were getting to decorate the cars and seeing people’s smiles,” Vanburen said. “The rule of 6 feet and a mask was in place at that point and we applied it to all the celebrations.”

Apart from a celebration at her house, Muñoz also received a drive-by celebration, in which her friends decorated their cars and passed by to give notecards, presents and candies. Muñoz said that she was also able to attend many of these drive-by events for her other friends who celebrated their birthdays during the summer months. She said that any act of kindness and appreciation from her friends made her day. 

“I actually really enjoyed when my friends passed by to send me birthday wishes through the drive-by car celebration,” Muñoz said. “After a whole month of April being in quarantine, I realized how much I missed my friends and the birthday brought us together again.” 

Junior Deigo Leon, participated during summer birthdays by baking macarons from his newly opened online shop, D & F Bakery. Leon said he not only sold French macaroons to various small parties, but he also made his own boxes to give to his friends in hopes of cheering them up. 

“Although I got to celebrate my birthday right before COVID-19 became more serious, I attended and prepared gifts for numerous drive-by birthdays,” Leon said. “The feeling of surprising your friends is rewarding, especially when many people did not get to celebrate their birthdays.”

During the summer people had to continue to follow CDC guidelines when celebrating their birthdays. Leon said although many people did not travel during the summer it is still important to wear a mask and make sure to stop the spread of the virus. 

“I still think it is essential to keep social distancing standards in place when going to birthday celebrations,” Leon said. “Having people celebrate with no precautions is really a slap in the face to all those people who took the correct safety guidelines at their parties.”