Student Leadership provides spirit in midst of pandemic

There have been plenty of obstacles thrown in the way of DHS students as the pandemic rages on during the 2020 school year. As the community continues to try and keep up with the ever-changing hurdles, the school has seemed to have emulated this perseverance within sports teams, clubs, and especially within the classroom. Arguably more than others, the Student Leadership classroom has been faced with many roadblocks that have taken hard-work, extra time, and lots of socially-distant collaboration to work through. An active Student Leadership member junior Ellyana Tierney explains how the coronavirus protocols have influenced their time in the classroom.

“We’ve had to try and stick more to the same groups so that we’re around less people and we also have to really keep track of where we’re going in the school,” Tierney said. “We have a whiteboard in Ms. Berg’s class where we write down where we’re going and who we’re with.”

Following the release of state-wide protocols prior to the school’s reopening on Aug. 31, it became prevalent that traditional school events would not quite look the same as years past, if they were to happen at all. Student Leadership remained determined to deliver some sense of normalcy to the students and staff amidst a not-so-normal school year. With the efforts to keep the charger spirit alive, the idea of a virtual assembly came along to fit the new safety protocol. Just like many other obstacles DHS has had to navigate this year, this particular project came with its own set of challenges as well. Junior Emma Shultz shared the difficulties that have come along with this new idea.

“One of the challenges we’ve faced is trying to make it interesting and incorporate old aspects and also make sure the student body feels interested and involved in it somehow since we can’t have any contact with them, like how we always used to throw candy to them or have different students play games,” Shultz said. “We’ve just been trying to incorporate old aspects from the assemblies that we’ve had in past years and put them in this years’ to make them more interesting.” 

Restrictions and the status of rising coronavirus numbers throughout the year has inhibited the class’ ability to gather in large numbers, causing the cancelation of other cherished events such as homecoming, the glow dance, indoor Special Olympics, and hallway decorating. With these events also being forced to adjust to the new safety measures, a prevalent question in the minds of the Student Leadership students is, “What’s next?”

“Unfortunately this year we had to “throw out” all our old plans and come up with brand new projects and ideas that are both exciting for students but also safe and reasonable,” senior Fatimah Khan said. “However, on the other hand, this year has really given us the opportunity to think outside the box and be creative!” 

With this new creative mindset, members of Student Leadership began to discover new paths for creating safe student engagement. The problem-solving attitude that the students have adopted has pushed the students to challenge themselves and work with others in a new way. The first thing that came to mind to keep in touch with both in-person and virtual-learning students was none other than social media. In an effort to become a more inclusive outlet for the school spirit that Student Leadership is known for, they thought taking this energy to a platform like Instagram would be a means to engage all students, whether they have chosen to do face-to-face, hybrid, or virtual learning.

“This year we definitely have been more reliant on social media in order to push different videos we have made, spirit days, as well as various announcements,” Khan said. “Our main purpose with our Instagram and Twitter for this year is to involve the virtual students so they can still feel a part of the Charger family, even from home.” 

The mission to keep the charger spirit alive has perhaps been more challenging this year in comparison to others, but through the efforts made by Student Leadership, staff and students alike are able to make the most out of this very different 2020-2021 school year.

Members of student leadership participate in creating posters for various spirit activities.

photos courtesy of Breanna Prince & Alex Liakos

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