Class Officers Plan Online and In-Person Events to Bolster Spirit

by Preethika Vemula, News Editor & Lily Zarr, News Contributor
photo courtesy of Benjamin Moshes

Class officers are planning in-person and online activities throughout the year to improve school spirit while following the coronavirus guidelines.

All year-end events, including the freshman cruise, sophomore bash, semi and prom, have been canceled due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19. Class officers, however, are awaiting guidance from the state and district and planning minor details for year-end events with COVID-19 restrictions in mind.

Physics teacher Sarah Maillet, a junior class advisor, said that although each grade in class office is planning events differently, all class officers meet regularly to share ideas.

“Each grade’s officers are planning in-person, socially distanced, events and online events throughout this year. These events are important in bolstering student connection and improving spirit,” Maillet said.

“South spirit might be at a low right now. It is so hard when you’re not seeing people in person,” she said. “What is spirit if you’re not together?”

Freshman class president Kevin Yang said that class officers and administrators  are planning a freshman orientation for the return to in-person school in January.

“We hope to have a school scavenger hunt to get the freshmen well-versed with the school and where things are,” he said.

Sophomore class president Andrew Hsu said that sophomore class officers recently sent out a survey to incorporate students’ opinions into possible class events.

“One of our main goals is to include as many voices from our class as we can,” he said. “It’s a lot more transparent to get everybody’s voices.” 

Wellness teacher Patrick Jordan-Quern, an advisor to the class of 2023, said that the sophomore class felt discouraged after the freshman cruise was canceled last spring.

“The class of 2023 last year felt like every time they had momentum, the carpet was pulled from underneath their feet, and they had to reset, over and over again,” he said.

Junior class president Aman Singh said that the junior class officers aim to foster community through social media.

“We did this event where if you send a compliment to our [Instagram] account, we would send it anonymously to the person that you wanted to have that compliment,” he said. “That was a big success.”

Senior class president Benjamin Moshes said that the senior class officers aim to create smaller, specialized events tailored to students’ interests.

“We try to not force 500 people onto Zoom, but [involve] 20 or 30 students and make it more niche like Poker Night or Skribbl,” he said. “We’re thinking about stuff that only a certain group of people would go to [and] have an easier time bonding.”

Moshes said that the current seniors’ semi, which was initially scheduled for last May but was rescheduled for this fall, was once again canceled.

In the absence of semi, Moshes said that class officers are planning alternative social events for Class of 2021. One event, which was initially scheduled for Dec. 9, has been postponed due to community safety concerns. The event would have been an in-person gathering for seniors at South.

Senior Miller Kodish, who attended the senior drive-in movie night hosted by class officers, said that he appreciates the events, but would like to see more located close to the school building.

“Increasing the frequency of events that are held near the school will help people feel more connected to it,” he said. “It’s good to have a drive-in every once in a while at the mall parking lot, but the senior sunset, which was near the school, reminds you that you’re part of this community.”

Guidance Counselor David Kershaw, a junior class advisor, said that the school community is strong, despite students being unable to interact in person.

“I’ve been really impressed with the spirit and positivity given how many obstacles there are,” he said. “They’re being resilient as far as being at home and getting creative instead of being bummed out about where things are.”