“The news about COVID-19 had hit New York and it felt like an apocalypse because there was no one on the streets.”
Vermilion’s Sadie Granigan has been on a whirlwind adventure since the fall: studying musical theatre in New York City to being trapped in the United States due to varying COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Granigan has been attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy since October and her favourite part was spending every day in class at the Ansonia – a widely recognized building located right on Broadway.
“It was awesome; being able to perform in New York – the epicenter of performing arts and the place where it thrives is really cool,” said Granigan.
Her challenges began the second week of March when COVID-19 began spreading across the world.
Her school began evacuating everyone, and she and the other students were suddenly told they had to leave.
Granigan said she remembers the day well.
“Sitting in class we were talking about other schools in the area that had been closed, and being a smaller school we wondered what was going to happen.
“After leaving class we all got an email that said we were going to be leaving for three weeks and staring online classes,” she said.
“The next day we began figuring out how we were going to leave when we got another email that told us we would have to leave – effective immediately.
“It was really scary. I didn’t know anyone who had experienced that before.”
Many of the students at the school were international, leaving them scrambling, and meeting with counselors to discuss their travel plans.
“We had to scramble to find shampoo and the things we would need in order to go somewhere.
Her plan at the time was to go to Houston, Texas to stay with her best friend and his family while she figured out her student visa situation.
As travel regulations changed, she ended up being stuck there for three months.
“After one week of online classes things started getting worse around the world. By then, we had everything figured out, but my first flight got cancelled.
“At the time, two flight attendants and I were the only people at the airport but I wasn’t that worried,” said Granigan.
They booked another flight two days later that was also cancelled with travel restrictions becoming more of a problem.
Two later flights back to Canada were also dashed.
“As more flights got cancelled, I got more scared because it was more serious. Everything was unknown and I had no idea how I was going to get home,” said Granigan
The night of May 27, her mom called saying that a new travel plan had been put in place with restrictions expected to be lifted on June 1.
“I finally got home on June 8,” said Granigan.
“It was super helpful to have a family to host me. If I had been stuck in those dorms for three months it wouldn’t have been as ideal.
“The situation in New York kept escalating. In Houston it was a bit calmer and I was able to be in a family environment – even if it wasn’t my family.
“It’s a lot for any parent to see their child go to another country for school, let alone to have them say, ‘I’m going elsewhere or I’m stuck there.’ My parents were pretty excited to have me back,” said Granigan.
Now back at home, Granigan is planning on fast tracking her graduation in hopes to attend a semester in Los Angeles through the summer to return to New York in the fall.