Staying Connected at Santiago

A look at the many students who have worked to keep our school running during COVID.

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Breana Knighten, Editor-in-Chief

In December of 2019, the now infamous Covid-19 outbreak emerged in Wuhan China. At the time the virus seemed to be a distant sort of problem; upsetting, but never really something that could affect your own life. By March 2020, students at Santiago watched their school close without much warning or clarity on when- or if things would return to normal. Nothing seemed to make sense, and teachers who should have been abating their students’ fears seemingly disappeared leaving the majority of us confused and without much of a support system. In the midst of all the adversity that seemed to be hanging over our community, I got to watch kids that I have grown up with taking the initiative to create a beautiful convergence of students and the school system when we needed it most.

Where many teams would have fallen apart with little to no leadership, many Santiago athletic teams have managed to continue to train with no contact. Football is making plans to return to a team practice in October and many individuals have been working alone to keep in practice. Athletics that can continue to work from a safe distance have done so. Chandler Agajaanian (12), a member of the cross country team states ” I think it’s important for the program to be modified to the times of COVID in order to accommodate the needs of runners to train, exercise, and challenge themselves.” His opinion is echoed by all of the young athletes that have continued to strive for success at Santiago, despite new complications.

ASB has without a doubt been one of the hardest working groups off of campus. When asked how they were trying to keep things running off of campus Makenzie Zander (12) shared that it’s proved challenging to come up with innovative ways to keep the student body engaged but in attempts to make the best of the situation they “Sent out a postcard with a personal note to every student, are holding a virtual club rush, are sending e-birthday cards to students, have written letters to medical workers, and are currently in the process of planning various webinars for students to tune into with topics like stress management, equity on campus, college application info, etc.” As the senior vice president, it is her goal to connect with students alongside the senior class president Seth Boren. It’s important to feel a sense of connection to your school now more than ever, and students like Makenzie have gone out of their way to make that possible.

One last group I felt deserved recognition for their exemplary efforts to collaborate with one another even when the odds are stacked against them is Santiago’s Theatre department. Performing arts are one thing not many people expected to remain afloat during a pandemic that keeps us all six feet apart. However, while they may not be able to meet in person our preforming arts team has been diligent in finding ways to work together even from far apart. For now, meetings are being held on zoom and the performance may even be live-streamed if no other routes become available. Difficulties do arise with this system Natalie Peterson (12) explains that “Theatre is a very physical art that involves interaction among the actors. On zoom we lose the luxury of being able to physically interact with one another on stage, making setting the scene a lot more difficult.” Despite this, they are all working very hard to make sure things run smoothly and the theatre program gets the recognition that they have earned.

Without the efforts of every one of these individuals and countless more, our school would lose the sense of community and school spirit that we all so desperately need in these trying times. The global corona crisis has led many clubs and groups to be forced to reassess how they are run, and throughout this difficult process, it is the students that have stepped up to keep the organizations they are passionate about running smoothly. The strength, dependability, and hard work that Santiago and Santiago’s students carry has never been more valuable in keeping our school connected.

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