COVID-19 put the lives of every student in the entire world on halt, and over the course of just this year, so much has changed about the way we gather. 

With the return of mostly in-person schools beginning in January of the 2020-2021 school year, one must have wondered if this meant the return of in-person school events. Due to COVID concerns and government guidelines, gathering in person was made impossible for almost two years, and the events that happened at Avonworth School District were forced to change to meet those requirements.

One of many adjustments was the PSPA Regional Journalism Write Off Competition. Normally held in person at Point Park early in November, the contest was again held on-site at the high school due to the university’s COVID regulations. Here, editor-in-chief Niomi Ellis crafts her editorial entry at the EIC desk in the pub lab, instead of a classroom at Point Park like many Avonews staff members experienced throughout the 2010’s. To see more on this competition, type PSPA in our search box.

 

From online prep rallies to awards ceremonies, gathering in groups in person seemed to be an impossible challenge. This put the idea of in-person school events, despite in-person learning coming back, were  mostly  hold yet again.

 

Students returned to almost full in-person learning in January of 2021 after a temporary break back to virtual due to COVID concerns.

 

The biggest event, besides small school fundraisers, that took place in the second half of the 2020-2021 school year was the Junior Class Carnival. 

The carnival, which took place on Friday evening, May 7, was put together by the Junior class sponsors, officers, and a handful of AHS parents.

AHS families and community members were welcome to attend a student-run carnival that was spread across the grassy island and the staff parking lot.

There there were food trucks, and different clubs and classes set up food and game booths.

 

The junior carnival, pictured above, brought Avonworth families and community members together in the same place for the first time in a very long time.

 

Besides raising $5,500, it was also one of the first in-person gatherings AHS had seen in a year. “It was super well organized, and I really enjoyed it. I was great to have everyone together again and meet teachers that I would be having the next year,” said freshman Airah Shafiq. 

Ms. Wahl, one of the junior class sponsors, thought that fact was significant. “I think that was why {The Carnival} was so successful, that everyone was able to get together,” she said.

Airah Shafiq, a freshman  in the bottom right, tries to sink a teacher at the dunk tank. Students could pay using tickets for three chances to dunk whatever teacher was on schedule at the dunk tank.

 

Just the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year was hallmarked by a lot of change from the school year just a few months prior. 

 

Spectators and administrators alike were all excited for the return of in-person Avonworth football.

 

AHS ushered in the new school year with the return of in-person/spectators allowed football games. With the subsequent return of AHS cheerleaders, Avonworth Highschool saw a boost in school spirit.

AHS cheer brings energy and excitement back to in-person football games.

 

One can not talk about a football game without talking about what may have been one of the biggest games of this year’s football season. The Homecoming football game against Hopewell did not only end with a win [50 – 0], but with a show as well. In a collaboration between class officers and volunteers, AHS saw its first-ever homecoming float committee and show. With many afterschool hours of hard work from all of the classes, the freshman class came in first, decided by loudest ground cheers, at the homecoming game for best float.

 

The back of the freshman class’s winning float.

 

Following the first-ever AHS homecoming float committee and parade, AHS homecoming came back home to the middle school gym for the first time in 10 years. This event, like many others, was still mask required but was also held inside with no distancing. 

The 2021-2022 year continued to be a year of firsts for AHS. Key Club and Student Council hosted Avonworth’s first community walk in remembrance of Children’s Grief Awareness Day. On Thursday, November 18th, from 6-8 PM, members of the Avonworth community were welcomed to walk laps around the Lenser Field Track which was lit by paper bag vigils. All profits made from the commissions of candy and drinks sold at the event were donated to the Hallmark Caring Place. 

 

9th grader Kayla Geouque and senior Emily Davis help display the Children’s Grief Day butterfly banner for 2021. The huge butterfly mural put together with butterflies made by students 7-12, part of fundraising as well as adding visibility into the day. Freshman Jayla Jones is standing to the right.

 

To wrap up the year of 2021 in AHS school events, the student council is planning on holding a holiday movie day where students may leave their classes on December 23 to come to the auditorium to view various holiday movies.  This visit into the auditorium is the first multi-grade assembly for the high school in almost two years. In February 2020,  Nurse Barkaskey presented slides on proper hand-washing at the COVID-19.

AHS Student Council’s winter holiday spirit week plans. This was the second spirit week for the first semester of 2021.

 

“All the spirit weeks were fun, especially ‘anything but a backpack’, seeing all the things people brought in and the entire school participating together.” Jessica Hunt.

Frequent changes were a constant theme as we have reacted to what COVID has thrown at us, but in a new landscape with vaccinations and further treatments available compared to August 2020 through December 2020. So many of the events that we were able to have during just the first half of this school year would not have been possible a year ago, and there seems like there is so much more to come. “I am looking forward to a lot of spring events as well! The musical, for one — I’m in the stage crew, and I am so excited to be able to have fewer restrictions and have the actors get all the applause that they deserve.” said junior, Laurel Purcell.

 

The spring musical of 2021, War Paint, and schedules for participating students was represented next to Mrs. Frauenholz’s room in the high school. Auditions and practices had to follow COVID regulations, so there are specific schedules for distinct groups of singers, actors, and other cast and crew compared to larger groups all attending in the auditorium at the same time.

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