Jensen Lund

Westerly High’s Jensen Lund, who was on the swim team during the winter, was expecting an improved season from the volleyball team this spring before the coronavirus intervened. | Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — Initially, Westerly High senior Jensen Lund didn't really think it would be this bad.

He first heard about the coronavirus in January.

"I was thinking it would blow over quickly," said Lund, who is missing his final volleyball season due to the pandemic. "I didn't think as a society we would have allowed this to happen. It's strange to think in a first-world country that we are hit so hard by this."

The United States has 2 million cases and 114,195 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Most health experts say those numbers fall short of the actual cases and deaths.

Lund, who was also on the swim team, still talks with his close friends on a regular basis. But he misses many others whom he saw at school every day.

"I miss interacting with the people I don't see on a daily basis," Lund said. "I might not have their [phone] number, but I miss seeing them. I do think the school administration has done a good job of keeping us involved."

Last season, Westerly's volleyball team finished 4-14 overall and in Division II, missing the postseason.

"Last year, we had a lot of freshmen. I was really hoping this year we could come together and figure out how to work and play together," Lund said. "I was hoping that maybe we could make states."

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lund draws inspiration from his parents, Erika and Christian. His father is a commander in the Coast Guard.

"We moved to New York when I was in second grade and third grade, and it was not easy on a young family. I have an older brother and sister and a younger sister. Switching schools so often is hard," Lund said. "But my parents didn't make it seem that way. They didn't make it seem like our world had changed."

Lund attended St. Pius X School in fourth through eighth grade, when his family moved back to Westerly.

What advice would he give to an incoming freshmen in the fall?

"Don't be scared. I think people are very easily intimidated when doing anything," Lund said. "You should focus on yourself, play to your strengths and don't be afraid of taking a few risks."

Lund said he has learned a few lessons during his time at Westerly.

"I think being dedicated is the biggest thing I've learned about myself," he said. "When I'm involved and want to to be involved, it's so much easier to be dedicated. Once I get into a season, I'm all about that season. I've learned to be focused."

Lund will attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall as a nursing major. He might enlist in the Coast Guard or the Navy after graduation.

In addition to the pandemic, the Class of 2020 has seen four Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd on May 25. Floyd died after one of the officers pinned him down with a knee to the neck. The incident has led to protests and demonstrations throughout the country and the world.

What would Lund tell the country's political leaders if he could talk with them?

"I think I would want them to know that my generation is not one that is going to sit idly by," he said. "There are a lot of young people that demand their voices be heard and demand that action has to be taken."

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