Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Purlz (LaCole Purely)



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LaCole Purley (she/her) was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 2001 and raised in the Riverview and Florissant neighborhoods of St. Louis. Purley attended McCluer North High School, where she graduated as valedictorian in 2020. While in high school, Purley was involved with Special Olympics, marching band, the theater department, and schoolwide announcements. In performing on stage at school, Purley realized her passion for the performing arts. At the end of her senior year, Purley was promoted to manager at Smoothie King and became a business owner with the Super App for Life Leadership. She juggled all of this, as well as the Coronavirus becoming a worldwide pandemic and causing McCluer High School to shut down. It was from then that she realized she wanted to go into voiceover work, while all of the theaters were closed. In the Fall of 2020, she entered into Columbia College Chicago with a major in radio and a concentration in voiceover. Puley currently lives with her grandmother and is continuing her studies from home through virtual learning.

Publication Date

Fall 2020


Columbia College Chicago




COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus


Arts and Humanities | Oral History | Public History | Social and Behavioral Sciences


LaCole Purley, a freshman majoring in Radio, recounts her time from before, the onset of, and during the pandemic. At the start of the interview, Purley describes her childhood, and how she grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. She then goes on to talk about her family and her mother’s pre-existing conditions and details her family’s living situation and how that was affected by the Coronavirus. Purley details her experience at the end of high school, when her school switched to online classes as the pandemic spread. She reflects on her transition to online learning, and her steady work ethic, busy with “as many activities as possible” and becoming a manager at Smoothie King. She also details the events of online performances and her critiques about how learning online in high school can be better and more efficient. Purley then talks about the end of the school year and her socially distanced graduation that she fought to have happen.

Purley also recounts her plans for the summer and the following school year. She recalls the social justice movements of the summer with the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd, and her thoughts on the 2020 election between President Trump and Vice President Biden. She talks about “losing faith in America and losing faith in humanity” after listening to some of what President Trump had to say. She also talks about her views on feminism and being a “black, Hispanic female” in today’s world. Purley also recalls her parent’s and family’s thoughts and views on how she should live her life, and explains her own opinions about where her life is going and where she wants it to go.

Purley talks about her college experience going to Columbia college online from her home in St. Louis, Missouri. She describes her interactions with her professors, and how she feels the school is handling the pandemic. Purley also talks about the benefits of online school, and her new routine during college in a pandemic. She talks about the online connections she has made, and how she has been able to make friends in a different city during this time. She describes how college is different from high school and how excited she is to learn from all of her peers in her classes. Purley also shares her thoughts on mental health and the need for “the value of the hug.” She ends the interview by saying that people will look back on this time and remember the isolation that they felt and how people can learn to communicate better moving forwards.

Conducted in fall 2020 by an Oral History: The Art of the Interview student, this interview with a fellow student in the class reflects on the pandemic and how it impacted their life. The interview is conducted based on the life history approach to oral history.

Interview with Purlz (LaCole Purely)