COVID-19 Cancellations

by Brad Chavin, News Reporter & Preethika Vemula, News Section Editor
graphic by Kaila Hanna
South Stage Production, “Jesus Christ Superstar”

The musical production of Jesus Christ Superstar was scheduled to take place on March 19, 20 and 21.

Freshman Jessica Li, who was cast as James the Apostle, said she was heartbroken when Principal Joel Stembridge announced that the show would be postponed to a later date.

“We never got to perform for a live audience, nor did we get to record our work,” she said. “Most of all, we were sad that we wouldn’t see each other every day as we had for the last few months.”

Junior Valerie Goldstein, who was cast as Peter the Apostle, said the postponement of the musical could affect the future of South Stage. 

“We put a lot of money into it. If we don’t get to perform, that could be bad for the future of South Stage,” Goldstein said. “Also it would really suck for us to not be able to show an audience how hard we worked on this show.”

Li, however, said she hasn’t given up hope that the musical will be rescheduled, although there is currently no performance date on the calendar. 

“I hope that we will be able to perform Jesus Christ Superstar at some point later on in the year and that everyone involved in the show will have their hard work recognized,” she said.

Help Light the Way Gala

In a continued effort by the Booster Club and the athletics department to install permanent lights at Winkler Stadium, the Help Light the Way Gala was to raise funding for the initiative.

Athletic director Patricia Gonzalez said the gala would have been a great community building event, but due to the circumstances, she is glad that the gala was canceled. 

“It could have been a very dangerous situation for everyone,” she said.

Although there is not an in-person fundraiser, Gonzalez asked that community members continue to support the initiative through an online auction and donation website. 

“When we have the lights so many good things will come out with students involved, not just the athletes, but the community at large, coming and supporting each other and being part of a bigger experience,” she said.

MICCA Competition

Students in the chorus, band and orchestra ensembles were preparing for the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) competition, held annually at the start of April. The cancellation of the event was a disappointment for students, senior Amanda Lookner said.

Lookner said that MICCA provided a chance for students to compare their performances to those of other students.

“It’s an opportunity to perform, win medals, see schools from across the state perform and how you measure up,” she said. “There’s a clinic where you can get the judges critiquing your performance.”

Megan Leary-Crist,  fine and performing arts department chair, said music teachers are working on an alternate option for the competition.

“We’re trying to figure out what we might be able to do musically,” she said. “Maybe we’ll have kids recording themselves. Instead of being a traditional concert, maybe we’ll have a musical mash up.” 

Leary-Crist said she encourages students to view the cancellation as an opportunity to expand their learning.

“Let’s go a little bit sideways in our learning,” she said. “Let’s look for connections between different disciplines or maybe different genres of music and to look at this not as a cancellation of destinations on a calendar, but really as an opportunity to think broadly and be inventive.”

ASO Asian Night

Asian Student Organization (ASO) Asian Night is an annual event designed to highlight both traditional and modern Asian culture. The event was set to feature several song, dance and talent performances.

Senior Coco Lheritier, a senior officer of ASO, said the cancellation of the event is upsetting. Lheritier said that ASO officers are considering rescheduling. 

“We could possibly have it during the school day, like during a long block,” she said. “When we get back to school, we’ll communicate with the administration and see if that’s possible.” 

Because the event relies on sponsorship and many businesses are experiencing heavy losses due to the coronavirus, however, Lheritier said rescheduling the event is unlikely.

FEM Empowerment Day

Female Empowerment Movement (FEM) club was preparing to host FEM Empowerment Day, a day featuring panels of students, teachers and outside speakers discussing feminism and empowerment of women in leadership roles.

English teacher Jasmine Lellock, FEM club advisor, said she is disappointed about the cancellation.

“It’s a great day,” she said. “I always leave feeling really positive and impressed with what students can do. I’m sad that we don’t have that ray of hope in these otherwise uncertain times.”

Senior Adina Smith, FEM club vice president, said students are working on replicating the day in the future.

“We’re definitely hoping to reschedule some sort of event to get the vibes of Empowerment Day,” Smith said. “We do it so that everyone feels empowered and knows that they have a voice.”

Junior Semi-Formal

Juniors’ semi-formal is scheduled to take place on May 16. The event has not yet been canceled or postponed, but junior class officer Andrew Li said the date of the event is subject to change. 

“We haven’t explicitly canceled semi yet because it’s in more than a month and a half,” Li said. “We want to see what the situation turns out to be before we make that decision whether to cancel it or keep it going.”

Were the COVID-19 pandemic to continue into May, semi would be postponed to either September or October, junior class president Benjamin Moshes said in a Facebook post to the class of 2021.

Moshes said he is looking forward to having fun at the Semi-Formal, whenever it may be held.

“Semi is always an amazing experience,” he said. “I feel hopeful that even if semi is moved to September or October, we will still be able to have that amazing junior experience even if it’s during senior year.”

Speech and Debate Tournaments

Several local and national tournaments, including the March 14 Brandeis Debate tournament and the May 23-25 National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Speech National tournament, were canceled in mid-March. 

Coco Lheritier, a senior and speech captain, said that she loves participating on the speech team and felt grateful to qualify for NCFL Nationals after a qualification tournament on February 8.

“Although it makes me sad, I am so glad for the community and the friends I made. I know I will be back and hope this never happens to the other kids on the team,” she said.

Sophomore Akhil Ibrahim, a debate team member, said that containing the spread of the coronavirus is more important than competing in a tournament.

“There were clearly more serious things at hand,” Ibrahim said. “It was a good thing because in Massachusetts especially we had tons of cases.” 

The National Debate Tournament of Champions (TOC), however, is scheduled to continue online in May. The tournament is one of the most prestigious debate tournaments in the country. Junior Donny Tou, a debate team member, said he feels apprehensive about the change. 

“I think with the online system there are going to be a lot of flaws,” he said. There are a lot of holes in the system that could be taken advantage of, and I don’t think it’s feasible.”

Advanced Placement Exams

The College Board announced on March 20 that the Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be modified but still conducted this spring amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past several weeks, it has released more information regarding curriculum covered, format and policies. Math teacher Hayley Donati, who teaches AP Statistics, said that she is glad that the exams were not canceled. 

“We’ve been working toward this. I’ve been preparing my students for the test, and they’ve been working really hard and deserve to still take the test,” Donati said. 

All exams will be taken at home, unless schools have resumed, will cover only the material that most schools completed by mid-March, will be shorter in length — most are 45 minutes — and will be online with an option to handwrite and upload photos. Students can elect to withdraw their registration with no cancellation fee.

Although the exams will be open-note, the College Board is implementing anti-plagiarism software to prevent students from working together.