Homecoming postponed until February, stag dances canceled

With unprecedented, distance learning start to 2020-2021 school year, the ASB moves forward with virtual spirit weeks, Student Senate meetings

Homecoming+princess+Rachel+Kim+%28left%29%2C+escorted+by+Kenji+Williams+%28both+Class+of+2020%29%2C+celebrate+their+walk+around+the+gym+during+the+2019+ASB-organized+assembly.+Because+football+got+postponed+to+the+spring+semester+of+2021%2C+the+ASB+has+decided+to+move+its+traditional+fall+homecoming+events+to+the+week+of+Feb.+9.

Brianna Zafra

Homecoming princess Rachel Kim (left), escorted by Kenji Williams (both Class of 2020), celebrate their walk around the gym during the 2019 ASB-organized assembly. Because football got postponed to the spring semester of 2021, the ASB has decided to move its traditional fall homecoming events to the week of Feb. 9.

Anthony Keem

This story was updated at 1:45 p.m. Sept. 2 with an additional student quote.

Despite canceled stag dances and assemblies this semester because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Student Body [ASB] will push ahead with virtual events and a goal toward holding homecoming next spring in alignment with the postponed football season, ASB officials said.

“There won’t be any dances this semester, but we hope to have them by the spring,” ASB social commissioner junior Micah Desai said. “A lot of our events are scheduled for the spring semester, like homecoming, which is scheduled for February based on the football schedule.”

With no on-campus events like quad games because Sunny Hills remains closed for live classroom instruction, the ASB will still host school spirit weeks through social media and virtual charity events, co-ASB adviser Mike Paris said.

We will do charities, spirit weeks and other special events — they will all have to be adjusted of course,” Paris said. “They also may occur at later times in the year than usual.” 

Like those in the ASB, many students are also hopeful an eventual return to campus will lead to opportunities to participate in traditional school year events.

“[Postponing homecoming] does suck, but some dances are better than no dances,” sophomore Tony Salas said.

For freshman Tiffany Elnitiarta, she just wants capture the Sunny Hills vibe when students are allowed to return to campus.

“I’m not really a dance kind of person, but it still would’ve been fun to see the school spirit and excitement for the dances,” Elmitiarta said. “And I really hope that next semester we will be able to go back to normal and have some school dances.”

ASB students acknowledge that the organization’s shift to a completely online presence is unprecedented as they also face new obstacles unique to distance learning. 

“ASB’s goal is to get students involved at school and show their school spirit,” Desai said. “Our biggest challenge this year will be to get students involved, even when they aren’t physically at school.”

Junior class president Aimee Kwon wants to assure the student body that the ASB — though not meeting in person — remains active.

“I think we’re handling things pretty well right now,” Kwon said. “We’re having lots of online meetings, passing things [like student new club proposals], planning and trying to keep the school spirit up to the best of our abilities.”

For the week of Aug. 31, the ASB has allowed students to propose new club ideas during the beginning of fifth period, approving those in preparation for the Thursday, Sept. 4, virtual club rush.

Meanwhile for the Class of 2024, the ASB has decided to postpone freshman class elections indefinitely because distance learning does not allow ninth-graders to know the candidates they would be voting for.

Freshmen’s motivation [to campaign] might be affected as they haven’t gotten the chance to see the full extent of how amazing Sunny Hills is,” elections commissioner senior Meagan Kimbrell said. “However, I feel the quality of elections will be better at a later date since we will have more time to adapt to the situation and figure out the best way to hold the election.”

Despite these postponed events, the ASB still plans to hold Student Senate meetings through Zoom with its first one scheduled Sept. 8 during the Student Support period, Kimbrell said. Those interested in joining can access an application through the Sunny Hills website under “ASB,” and the deadline for turning it in is Thursday, Sept. 4, by 3 p.m.

There are definitely much fewer events, but there are still ways [Student] Senate will be beneficial,” Paris said. “It’s always good to hear from many voices … about things that are happening.”

Besides that opportunity, the ASB conducted its first online spirit week starting Aug. 24, drawing its themes from quarantine trends and previous spirit weeks. 

“I think spirit week went really well,” Desai said. “A lot of people were participating, and social media was a really good way to get involvement.”

Despite what the ASB has been able to do so far this school year, members say they struggle to cope with the changed atmosphere that comes with distance learning.

I feel like the mood is definitely different — the ASB used to have a family vibe, now I feel like it’s more difficult to get closer to everybody,” Kwon said. “The ASB is generally a very energetic and outgoing place, but through Zoom, it’s weird to unmute yourself to talk.”