Anne Laurie Pierre is an exceptional student. She takes advanced classes, plays three sports and was recently elected senior class president at Everett High School. But, as she has shared as part of GBH News' COVID and the Classroom series, she and her family have been especially hit hard by the pandemic. Her father died of COVID-19; her mother's battling cancer and has been unable to work; and Anne Laurie juggles a job and caring for younger siblings with remote classes. Here Anne Laurie shares a glimpse of one way she has coped during a senior year shaped by COVID — leaning into her faith.

Anne Laurie Pierre, a senior at Everett High School, begins morning classes from her bedroom in Somerville, Mass.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie begins her day just in time to log in for homeroom at 8 a.m. Throughout senior year she has held onto the hope that her school will re-open. Her classes have been remote since March of 2020, and more than a year later, she says she still struggles to pay attention and engage with classes via a computer.

A bible sits on the bedside table in Anne Laurie Pierre's bedroom in Somerville, Mass.
Meredith Nierman GBH News
Anne Laurie Pierre reads a passage from the bible as part of her morning prayer and mediation practice.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

After home room, Anne Laurie has a brief break before her first class. She often uses the time to pray, meditate and set daily goals. "Prayer and meditation and just my time alone with God and just alone with me," she said, "I don't know if I would be sane if I didn't have that."

Anne Laurie Pierre speaks with her mother, who has cancer, after she returned from a doctor's appointment.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie sits with her mother, Enid, who has been hospitalized since January for leukemia treatment and has returned home only for short visits. It's a relapse; Enid also had leukemia when Anne Laurie was 11 years old.

Anne Laurie Pierre and her mother hold hands while discussing her mother's upcoming cancer treatment.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

In April, Anne Laurie donated bone marrow so her mother could undergo a transplant. The donation process was at times painful. Her mom urged her to stop, and Anne Laurie said she considered it. "They actually have to put a line down right inside of me — inside my chest and I was like, 'I don't know if I want to do this,'" she said. "But then, I realized that my mom does it every day, so, I was like, 'Let me push through.'"

Anne Laurie Pierre cleans a photo of her father that sits on the dresser in her bedroom in Somerville, Massachusetts. Pierre's father died of Covid-19 in April, 2020.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie's faith was tested early on the in the pandemic when her father contracted COVID-19 and, in April of 2020, passed away. "I was like, 'Why would God allow this?'" she said. "Once I did start to pray again, I started to feel relief and I started to heal."

Anne Laurie Pierre consoles her god son Darwin while playing with him and her younger sister xx in Somerville, Mass.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie's family includes her-eight-year-old sister, Andwin, and her four-year-old godson Darwinski. Both have spent most of the past year at home and, with her mother hospitalized, Anne Laurie often has to leave her remote classes to care for them.

Anne Laurie Pierre (center) greets Everett High School Vice Principal Cory McCarthy with a fist bump. Pierre returned to school for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie calls Everett High her "second home" and was thrilled to return to the school building for the first time in more than a year this spring to host virtual tours for incoming students. While she was there she ran into the new vice principal, Cory McCarthy. The two have worked together this year via video conferencing to promote discussions about race within the school community, but had never before met in person. Anne Laurie said he was taller than she expected.

Anne Laurie Pierre digs into a ball during practice with the Everett High School girls varsity volleyball team. The team's season, initially postponed because of the coronavirius pandemic, started again for an abreviated season.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Volleyball season, usually held in the fall, was delayed until spring. It has been a taste of normalcy for Anne Laurie to be back on the court and connecting in person with her teammates. "Just being able to play," she said, "that's really happy."

Anne Laurie Pierre (r) embraces her mother (l) as her mother leaves home for the hospital to begin a new round of cancer treatment.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie said goodbye as her mother left for the hospital on April 9. The bone marrow transplant recovery will require her mother to remain hospitalized into June. "I was literally clinging on to her, telling her not to go and I was holding on to her because I was scared," Anne Laurie said. "But now I have faith in God that she'll recover. I have to do my part and God does his part and my mom does her part."

Anne Laurie Pierre (center) weeps as she attends church services in Malden, Mass.
Meredith GBH News

Anne Laurie has attended Bethel Evangelical Church of Malden since moving to Everett from Haiti when she was six years old. She said many people in her church have experienced loss during the pandemic — including losing jobs, homes and family members. "That's always been my church, and the people know me well and they know my mom. They know us well," she said. "If I wanted to cry, scream, run, anything, it's allowed. It's okay because they understand that life is hard and so I just let it out."

Anne Laurie Pierre accepts an award from the Harvard College Black Students Assocation during their annual gala, held virtually this year due to the pandemic. The award honors a local Black high school senior for their work.
Meredith Nierman GBH News

Anne Laurie has long dreamed of attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. She's been accepted to the school, but does not know how she'll afford the tuition. Meanwhile, she picked up an award during a virtual ceremony April 9 from students at a different school: Harvard College's Black Students Association. The award is given annually to a local high school student who works to improve the lives of Black people. She thanked many people but especially her mother. "I know that she is truly proud of me," she said. "Like every mother, she wanted me to be something bigger than her, and I'm doing just that for the both of us.”