Thanks to faculty, staff for steering us through difficult times

Last school year presented many challenges stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including transitioning back to a full schedule while re-adjusting to the full force of college-prep academia. Students who had grown used to a block schedule faced a new amount of work and stress compounded by an atmosphere of uncertainty regarding traditional events. This left students with a diminished high-school experience. However, reflecting on the past year, administrators — feeling the brunt of debates over COVID-19 protocol and cancellations — showed that through determination the school can make the best out of what is available and making it possible to have a successful school year, even after the tiresome struggle the previous two years brought to the school community. 

The entire faculty and staff deserves praise for moving us forward when lives were put on pause in a time of confusion, skepticism and worry. 

After collectively grieving the loss of the past two years, it was time to move forward and embrace life once more. Much of this step toward normalcy stemmed from the reintroduction of dances. The Winter Formal proved to be a re-energizing event for high-schoolers to enjoy, and a final celebration for seniors and granting underclassman a much needed break. Likewise, the return of the middle-school dance showed younger students what to expect in the future while creating unity for underclassmen who might have spent the previous school year at home. Seniors were able to attend their first — and last — Prom, and juniors were afforded the opportunity look forward to future formal dances as well. 

While these returning rites of passages brought light and fun to the student body, they also served as a message of hope and strength for faculty and staff. The administrative team attended Prom and the Winter Formal, both to chaperone and to enjoy the atmosphere themselves. Teachers also attended high-school and middle-school dances for the same purposes. 

Oftentimes, the school environment appears student-focused, but the movement toward fun and festivities was a collective effort based on those working behind the scenes.

Through empathy it became clear this transition to normalcy was not merely a journey for students, but for the school community as a whole. Teachers stepped up to the challenge of presenting material in a renewed in-person format on a seven-period-day format. Toward the end of the year, they could see what needed to be improved to provide students with necessary material in preparation for Advanced Placement exams and finals. Moreover, they adjusted to an ever-changing educational field where curriculum is challenged and legislation intervenes in day-to-day instruction. Janitors mitigated sickness by keeping surfaces sanitary and maintaining a clean campus. They arrived on campus before students and left long after the student parking lot emptied. Beyond appreciating the time these heroes have put into helping the school, administrators, teachers and custodians continue to serve as a source of inspiration for students, encouraging us to  move forward with grace and to never give up.

As we continue to re-adjust to to a post-pandemic world, it is important to acknowledge those who keep the school grounded. While the student body populates classrooms to keep the school running, it is those behind the scenes and in the front of the classrooms that keep the Wildcat Nation spirit alive.