Students discover new passions during Covid-19


Marisa Fidone

(right to left) Ally Ebel, Uproot Your Ethics, and Amy Wang all began new projects while quarantined.

Samantha Clinton and Elyssa Lieu

The Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine left many people repeating almost the same actions each day. As the stay-at-home order continues, several Amador students have begun new hobbies in order to take the new free time they have and turn it into something of good. 

From baking to photography to hiking, finding a pastime is beneficial to pretty much everyone during this time, especially if it keeps you from going crazy from the tedium of deja vu days. 

Here at AVJ, our team decided to look for some of the talent at AV to interview on their passions and how quarantine influenced them. It didn’t take long to find some. 

(If you want to know more about what discovering your passion means, you can check out this op-ed here!))

Ally Ebel picked up photography in the course of quarantine. (Ally Ebel)

Ally Ebel, a junior at Amador, has always had an interest in the social media world. She’s been on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, and other popular platforms.

However, this past quarantine, a meeting with a social media influencer furthered her passion into something more.

“I’ve always wanted to do something in the social media world, but I wasn’t sure what until I met one of my favorite photographers, Bryant, on a Zoom call,” said Ally Ebel (‘22).

After meeting Bryant, Ally’s gone on to find many other different social media influencers and photographers. Users such as Illumitati and Lance Sanchez are part of what encouraged to take photography more seriously in her life.

“I’ve always wanted to do my own photography like [Bryant] and when I got to talk to him about it he actually inspired me to move on with that dream of mine. He’s what made me decide that I wanted to continue with photography,” said Ebel (’22).

With the free time quarantine has given her, she’s taken this opportunity to start an Instagram account dedicated to showcasing her own photography. 

“I currently don’t have a short term goal but my long-term goal is to move out to LA after high school and to take pictures for social media influencers. I just felt like it was the perfect time to really start this dream of mine,” said Ebel

For Ally, this quarantine allowed her to push herself towards her goal and helped her recognize these aspirations and work towards them for her future. You can keep track of what Ally’s up to here.

“I currently don’t have a short term goal but my long-term goal is to move out to LA after high school and to take pictures for social media influencers. I just felt like it was the perfect time to really start this dream of mine.”

Ally Ebel (’22)

Amy Wang is one of the co-founders of the Capability Experiment. (Amy Wang)

Amy Wang, a senior with a cause, is part of a youth organization that began this April during quarantine called the Capability Experiment. The Capability Experiment is a creative project focused on helping students gain an understanding of career paths. They share and communicate this knowledge through interviews, articles, and artwork that they share through several different online platforms.

“We realized that there are a lot of students who lack an understanding of the fast-changing career paths today. There are also a lot of people who are pressured to choose a major and it just gives people a headache. We speak to the actual professors, actual scientists, and guest speakers and we share this knowledge to everyone else, making it more accessible,” said Amy Wang (‘21)

Amy generally handles the interviews but occasionally draws or paints cover images for a change of pace. She had her first experience interviewing with a biochemistry professor during a trip to UC Berkeley.

“Interviewing is actually something that I never thought I was going to do, but I enjoy it so much just because I can have a conversation with very inspiring people who are extremely accomplished and ambitious. People always think ‘Oh, I could never talk to them’, but it really just takes some reaching out to and sending emails and truly, just being brave. The worst they can say is no,” said Wang.  

And sometimes, they do say no! Amy admits that it does happen quite often, but it’s always worth a shot asking anyway.

The Capability Experiment has teammates from Russia, China, India, and the US. Despite their clashing time zones, they all come together to work for this project that inspires them. 

“I feel really grateful and glad that the Capability Experiment has brought out not just the distance between us and other Amador Valley high school students closer, but also us and students all over the world,” said Wang.

Amy explains how everyone she’s worked with has continually pushed their boundaries, found new interests, and learned new things every day. 

“We want to convey a sense that everybody has so much potential that they just need to explore, unravel, and discover what they are passionate about, “ said Wang

The Capability Experiment continues to post their interviews, artwork, and articles on their social medias, along with a weekly talk show named Ralalaah on Sundays at 5pm PST. You can find them at @capability_exp on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook! You can check out one of their interviews below.


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A post shared by Collin Wang (

It’s no secret that right now, it’s a tough time for many of us, but for these students, they’re taking charge by self-reporting on it. Uproot Your Ethics is a website manned by a four-person team, AV seniors Cassandra Ying, Derry Xu, Colleen Zheng, and Collin Wang. Using both social media and their site to talk about current issues, they’ve covered topics like sociology, the Paris Climate Accord agreement, and more, but have recently shifted to a more personal concentration.

[The club started because] I had nothing to do, and they’re my good friends, so I thought why not?… I was like, let’s just do it, let’s start it, and it’ll be fun, and it was kind of not super high-minded, ’cause we were all in the environmental club, [so there] wasn’t like any huge specific goal for me personally… I wanted to have fun with my friends, not just hanging out together but also working together, and use it as a platform where we can write out our ideas and put ourselves out there a little bit,” said Derry Xu (’21).

The bond between the members is evident from how their talents are combined in the website. Derry may have come up with the project idea, but Colleen, Cassandra, and Collin soon jumped on board.

“We’ve been friends since seventh grade, and I remember when Derry asked me to join in Spanish class, and he was like, Colleen, I’m starting this website thing, do you wanna join and be a writer? … I told him no at first, because I really didn’t want to do any writing outside of school, and later he asked me again and I was like, sure, I’ll do it Derry, but it’s turned out really fun,” said Colleen Zheng (’21).

However, their influence doesn’t stop there. Uproot Your Ethics is determined to serve as a positive good both in informing people on outside events and giving a sense of relatability. Individual blog posts are written by each member monthly, giving readers a peek into their lives on whatever topics they’ve been thinking about lately.

“We started out with just environmental things, which is why [our name has] “Uproot” and why Colleen drew our logo as a flower… the club we came out of, Local Leaders, kind of broadened our view of what an environmentalist meant. It doesn’t mean you have to be one kind of advocate, there are different ways, so we thought writing would be a good method,” said Cassandra Ying (’21).

What they plan to do in the future remains unknown as of now.

“Maybe we’ll stick together, maybe not… I definitely see Uproot as a way for us to keep in touch when we go to college,” said Derry Xu (’21).