Teacher tortilla challenge among the highlights of Friday’s Welcome Back assembly, to be held for the first time during third period


Rebekah Kim

Associated Student Body’s posters line the walls of the gym as students cheer for Dance Production performers during the Aug. 20, 2021, Welcome Back assembly. This year’s version will take place Friday, Aug. 19, during a double third period assembly instead of the traditional second period one because of the new bell schedule.

While this will be the freshman class’ first high school assembly in the gym on Friday, Aug. 19, sophomores and upperclassmen returning to Sunny Hills will also get to experience a first of sorts.

Instead of the traditional double second period assembly, the welcome back-themed event will take place during third period with the first one (for those in rooms 21-26, 42-48, 62-67, 82-87, 104-109, 111-115, 150-156, 180-188, 401-409) starting from 10:16-11:08 a.m. followed by the second one (for those in rooms 10-16, 30-37, 50-57, 70-76, 92-97, 102, 130-139, dance, boys and girls PE and agriculture) starting from 11:14 a.m.-12:06 p.m., according to information provided by school officials.

Associated Student Body [ASB] adviser David Fenstermaker said he wanted to move assemblies to a different time slot this school year because of the new bell schedule that school officials had to adopt to comply with recently passed legislation requiring public high schools to start first period no sooner than 8:30 a.m.

“If we had a second [period] assembly, and it went long, [students and teachers] would be running to [their] third period class,” Fenstermaker said. “We want to have a break – [lunch] – right after the third period assembly.”

Because a majority of the faculty favored a schedule that showcased lunch occurring after third period and before break, the ASB adviser said he also asked administrators to move his ASB class from fifth to third period so his students wouldn’t miss so many classes on assembly days compared with last year when many would miss most of the school day because of prep and cleanup work.

Nevertheless, Fenstermaker said he and school officials will evaluate whether to stay with third period assemblies or go back to another bell schedule with double second period assemblies after soliciting feedback from students and staff. 

“We’re not married to it being this way – if it doesn’t work for people or we want to switch it, we can switch it,” he said.

The upcoming gathering will also be the first time Fenstermaker and returning ASB students will be without Mike Paris, the co-ASB adviser and social science teacher who retired at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. 

“It’s hard – Mr. Paris did a ton of things no one ever saw,” such as overseeing and managing the ASB’s finances, he said. “So it’s been a challenge to try to pick up that slack that he did so easily before.”

ASB president senior Jacky Woo said she has had to adjust to Paris no longer being with the ASB over the summer and the start of this new school year.

“Honestly, I do miss him, but I really feel confident with this year’s ASB, and even though he was a big part of ASB last year, I’m not really concerned because Mr. Fenstermaker has got it under control,” said Woo, who will be one of the emcees at the assembly. “But him not being there is not going to make the assembly bad, and I still feel confident and good about it.”

Besides the traditional introduction of athletes competing in fall sports and performances from programs like Dance Production and the Lancer Regiment during the Welcome Back assembly, the ASB will also feature some video segments for the audience to enjoy.

“We have some teachers doing some TikTok-related videos like the tortilla challenge,” said Fenstermaker, who was referring to the summer trend with nearly 300 million views on social media in which people with water in their mouths try not to laugh when slapped with a soft tortilla. “We’ve done some things to prepare for the first dance and just getting together matters because everyone’s back in school.”

Teaming up with Woo as the other emcee will be ASB vice president senior Lindsey Kang.

“It’s a good time for students to unite together,” Kang said. “And it also informs students in a way that it provides [information] about any events.”