Class of 2024 Takes On COVID Activities

Lilli DiGrande, Contributor

Since the beginning of the school year, students have had to cope with new situations that arose due to Covid-19. But how do freshmen students feel about these changes to clubs and sports, and how do they differ from normal years?

The after-school clubs at Minnechaug are one of many aspects of school life affected by the pandemic and hybrid or remote learning. New students in particular may have joined certain clubs had the pandemic not affected the way they operated. 

Freshman and Cohort A student, Lindsay Carra, felt like clubs that centred more on physical activities would have been a viable option for her, had the year been normal. 

“I heard that there was a skateboarding club,” she started. “Since I was getting really interested in skateboarding, I wanted to learn some actual tricks.” 

Sofie DiGrande, another Cohort A freshman at Minnechaug, agreed that she would have liked to join some of the more active clubs, including the table tennis club.

“I think it would have been easier to socialize in those active clubs,” she said, later adding that also having friends in the club to socialize with would help make for a better experience – especially when trying a new club. 

But how easy was it for Cohort D freshman students to join clubs this year?

Ava Murray, a Cohort D student, had never heard of nor been in the students activities office. She says the only reason she even found out about a club was because the club leader reached out to her through Instagram direct messages. 

However, just as freshman students are faced with challenges when joining clubs, Model Congress club leaders Joe Zebian and Amelia Mazzuca have struggled to find a way to get the word out about their club this year.

Zebian, a senior at Minnechaug, said that they normally advertise the club through school announcements. 

“When we are advertising through announcements, it’s more effective when people are in school. But not everyone can be in the school right now,” he explained. 

The club leaders had to re-evaluate how they advertise this year, and while they still occasionally get promoted on the school announcements, recently Mr. Hale has been ‘shouting-out’ the club in his parent letters that are emailed to both students and parents. 

“The biggest help for Model Congress advertisement was definitely Mr. Hale’s shout-out in his parent letters,” Mazzuca said. 

Even though there has been a change in the virtual meeting environment, both Zebian and Mazzuca acknowledged that there were some positive aspects that arose from the Zoom club meetings and the smaller group that typically joins on the call. 

“Zoom is good for participation, it keeps the debate flowing,” he said. “It encourages people to talk, and I think it’s less intimidating for people to participate.” 

However, even though getting word out about the club was challenging this year, both leaders didn’t notice a change in numbers for new freshmen joining the club.

They both mentioned how typically there is a pattern each year with new members, and this year fit in with that pattern. 

Amelia also encourages anyone to join Model Congress, saying that with everything going on in our country, it’s important to keep up, and to know how our government could help us. 

Not only have the clubs at Minnechaug been affected by the pandemic, school sports have also changed in a way no one could have expected. Both Ava and Lindsay participated in fall sports, and had to cope with the season being cut short.

Ava had made the varsity team for volleyball, and was disappointed when they weren’t able to finish the season. The practices for the volleyball team had also changed this past season. 

“I didn’t realise until later that during usual seasons, we would go to the gym and workout,” she said. “The practices would be two and a half hours long, but this year they were only one and a half hours long.” 

Lindsay saw a more positive side of the story, and reflected on how her freshman soccer team got to know each other better, and played well together as a team.

Unfortunately, some girls on the soccer team contracted the virus, and all team members had to quarantine as a result. 

All three of the freshman think that spring sports should not be cancelled, as long as proper safety guidelines are in place. 

“All of us need exercise, and school sports are a great way to combine that, and a sport you like.” Lindsay reasoned. 

Despite these difficult times and changes, freshman students have found their own ways to cope, and most look forward to experiencing sports and clubs during their future years at Minnechaug.