School Events: Continuations and Cancellations by Sally king

Photos by Sam Jezak

Due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19, many school traditions and events have been postponed, and in some cases, canceled; however, the administration and Student Leadership Council (SLC) at Pinewood are working hard to either transfer some of these events online or organize them to take place in person while following COVID safety protocols.

Some revised and new senior traditions have already occurred to make up for the cancellation of the Senior Entrance. At the drive-in movie event on Sept. 22, the Senior Class Council played a video showcasing all the seniors’ baby photos along with short humorous clips. The Saturday before classes started, the seniors, all socially distanced, gathered at the Baylands Park to watch the sunrise. New this year, the seniors painted parking spots around the Senior Island and raised money for the Second Harvest Food Bank.

“I definitely believe that the events SLC, student council, and Pinewood have put on have been great substitutions for the cancelations” SLC President Sam King said.

Following COVID safety guidelines, fall sports and pre-season athletic conditioning practices are taking place after school.

“There will be no formal competitive team sports first semester,” high school activities director Matt Stimson said.

All clubs, except for Robotics, have transferred to Zoom, and a majority are meeting on WISCR Wednesday. To create more opportunities for students to come together and connect, new clubs have been added, including the Panther Gamers, led by the Pinewood Parent Will Rees; Launch Coders, run by Principal Gabriel Lemmon; the Mindfulness and Meditation club, managed by Stimson; Crafting Club, directed by Dept. Chair of Mathematics Christine Walters; Outdoors Club, led by high school history teacher Sam Jezak; and Anime Club, headed by high school math teacher Elliot Chang.

Small group grade-level meetings are also happening remotely on Wednesdays and include activities such as crosswords, hangman and Among Us games, Kahoots about their classmates, and short motivational videos.

On Oct. 21, the senior class participated in the first in-person, COVID-safe WISCR Wednesday activities, playing a team-based game called Minute to Win it and other games.

“Overall, it was a success, and hopefully we will see other grades on campus soon,” King said.

King also said that future spirit dress days are not canceled. The themed days will be by green and gold cohorts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Also delayed: the class retreats that traditionally occur in the first week of school, with the seventh graders spending the day at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, the freshmen spending an overnight in the redwoods of Santa Cruz, the sophomores heading to San Francisco to explore, the juniors going surfing for the day, and the seniors having a two-day white water rafting adventure.

“Originally at the start of the school year, we were intending the retreats to be pushed back into January. As of right now, we don’t know if they will be happening,” King said.

The Homecoming football game and dance that would usually happen near the end of October has been postponed as well.

“It’s hard to make any guarantees on homecoming and other future dances. I can’t fathom a world where our boys dance without bumping into all other bodies in their immediate vicinity. Moshing is their go-to move. Maybe if we put them in bubble balls...? But seriously, dances are either off the table or will be re-designed creatively to be COVID-friendly and significantly different,” Upper Campus Athletics Director Jackee Bruno said.

Ballistic, also postponed, is an afterschool event where all fall sports have home games, and SLC fires up the grill, selling hamburgers and hotdogs to spectators and the fans in the Panther Pit, who are dressed in green and gold.

Winter Formal at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is currently booked, and the Prom for juniors and seniors is planned to be at a venue in San Francisco.

Jamboree, Pinewood’s beloved all-day event, has been canceled.

“It crushed me to know that one of the best events of the year got canceled due to the Coronavirus,” senior class president Jack Berkowitz said.

Even though some events are no longer, Pinewood student government and Bruno are working to bring new activities to the community this fall.