Leadership Adapts to Lift School Spirit During New Times

Despite the new challenges of distance learning, EVHS Leadership has strived to organize events for the school body.

The Class of 2024 rally, conducted online over Zoom by Leadership.

Siya Panchal

The Class of 2024 rally, conducted online over Zoom by Leadership.

Anh Hang and Charlize Tungol

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on just about everything in this past year, not leaving out the leadership class at EV. It’s safe to say that class rallies during lunch and in-person events were deeply missed. Collectively, students have been working on maintaining their mental health, fitness, and grades, so the question remains: How did leadership fulfill its role of keeping EV’s school spirit up?

EVHS seniors, most affected of all, provided their input on how leadership worked to push through for this year and to engage with students despite the distance between them,. To help understand the behind-the-scenes action of the leadership class from the perspective of a senior, Melanie Hassan and the class of 2021 president, Kaila Esters, give their input on just how they managed to keep their class together. Both had mentioned how the primary thing they miss is actually seeing people. “Those are the people you talk to and make memories with,” Esters adds, “It was always such a fulfilling experience to be surrounded by friends and other students who had the same pride and excitement that you did for EV.” Leadership being previously fueled by the success of an event or the countless posts on spirit days are saddened by being limited. Though distance learning has provided a more lenient school environment in terms of due dates and upload methods, it has brought anything but ease to leadership.

Nonetheless, they still made the effort to put forward virtual gatherings and online connections to instill one thing everyone wishes for: normalcy. Hassan explains, “Since distance learning, it’s obvious that many of us have been a lot less motivated but a lot more stressed and overwhelmed due to this sudden shift in routine.” Esters adds, “We were kind of put on the spot to become much more creative and resourceful in the events that we host and the ways in which we broadcast information to our entire student body.” Both students emphasized the positive reactions of hosting online Homecoming and weekly news videos to keep the students and staff updated. 

On that note, there are certainly a few positives that came from this uncertain year. Esters claims that virtual events seemed to encourage participation among other clubs and platforms that weren’t as active before. She adds that leadership was able to “cater to a large community of gamers that never had an event made for them,” while Hassan claims that they could now “recognize our ability to effectively adapt to certain situations quickly and the fact that we can still connect with others even if it isn’t in person.” 

What about those who are just beginning to navigate the leadership space? From the underclassmen perspective, 2020-2021 ASB connections officer Kasey Baugher and Class of 2024 treasurer Anna Tran offer their input. Both expressed feeling disconnected from their peers. Baugher expresses this by saying, It’s hard to talk to people when their camera is off and people aren’t speaking up. But I try to remember as a leader it’s important to take that extra step to reach out to people. I always try to make new friends because there are so many things to bond over online.” Tran continues, “It’s easy to feel unmotivated sometimes, and I know a lot of people struggle to participate.”

Even so, the role of leadership remains the same. Though it’s a difficult situation to work through, Baugher reminds students that, “Your role as a leader doesn’t change. Just because everything’s online, doesn’t mean you don’t have to set an example or do your responsibilities. I can get discouraged, but in those times I have to remind myself that people are counting on me. We need community now more than ever, so if anything we should work harder to set up events and display school spirit.” 

The class is still continuing efforts to encourage school spirits. Within the classroom, Tran describes, “Every Thursday we have Thursday Funday, where each committee organizes a fun event to share with the class, and it’s a good way to bond and get to know each other,” and outside the class, they are experimenting with letting students participating in Battle and ADC to come onto campus in safe, small, and monitored groups and practice their dance. Even though everything is online, with little things like that students seem to still be passionate about the class and hosting events. Tran says, “I do truly feel like I’ve benefited a lot from this class, I’ve been getting out more and it’s easier to talk to people. I’m building really important skills.”