The 2020 school year is not what the students of Air Academy had planned for in regards to their usual activities and clubs. Many of the activities normally offered that make Air Academy the incredible school it is are unfortunately cancelled, but there are still things to look forward to in the upcoming year.
On the topic of clubs and activities still continuing in the wake of COVID-19, it may come as a surprise, especially to freshmen who haven’t experienced what makes Air Academy special that there are still plenty of fun and engaging ways to fill the space voided by cancelled after-school activities.
Senior Kera Nelson said, “Our current plan to continue French club through the challenges presented by coronavirus will be to start the club online. We’re planning to create a Teams group so all our members can meet together. We are currently in the process of selecting our next Junior French Club Officers who will help plan and brainstorm ways to keep French club interesting and fun… we want to keep the most popular aspects of French club alive as best we can, so we still want to have fun French-related competitions and prizes, movies, and other activities.”
Nelson also added during the interview that French Club is not exclusive to those who are learning or have already studied French. Many anticipated parts of French club, including the Eiffel Tower marshmallow building competition and the Bouche de Noel cake competition, are still being continued in the upcoming school year on a modified platform. And for seniors who are disappointed by the lack of clubs, it can be included on college applications for clubs. They plan to preserve the most fundamental parts of what makes French club what it is while maintaining the safety of its members.
Many students who have attended Air Academy in recent years will fondly recall Montage, a cooperative show featuring students from the school. Regardless of whether one participates with a group in a skit, dance or music number, Montage is a place where everyone will be able to showcase their individuality. Although the show will not take place during the fall semester, it has been moved to the end of year. That allows students to have something to look forward to.
In relation to Montage, the theater program, run by Susan Manst, is still running.
“…this semester will offer a more limited production through the theater classes,” said Manst, “…we are hoping to be able to produce a musical in the spring.”
Activities such as the Air Academy football team will move forward with their competitive season.
Additionally, while it will not be competitive, the band program will continue to offer a concert band experience.
Renee Motter, the sponsor for Forensics Speech and Debate is enthusiastically working to continue their competitions.
“Speech and Debate is a great way to build critical thinking and communication skills, and we’ve already had much success with online tournaments,” Motter adds. “In fact, one of our students placed 4th in the nation at our National Tournament this past summer, and two other students advanced to quarterfinals in other events.”
Despite the virus having taken down many of the clubs that bring excitement to the halls of the school, Motter has already begun practices for the virtual year ahead. Although these practices have started, Motter is still allowing students to join by contacting her.
Interviewing the participants of Forensics revealed just how well-loved it really is even through the uncertain school year to come.
“I love the forensics season because everyone involved is kind of family at this point,” said junior Alexander Lau. “It will be very different this year with online tournaments in all but it is just something for us to adapt too. I think that anyone who either loves public speaking or hates it should join. For the people who love public speaking it’s a great way to get up and speak. For the people who hate it, it’s a great way to be introduced into it and will improve your skills tremendously.”
It’s clear that many clubs are refusing to allow the virus to drag them down, a prime example being the book club, run by Media Center Digital Learning Coach Traci Trimbach, which already has their first meeting date decided upon and is set to run every Wednesday during the lunch period.
“I have offered to host a Virtual Club Fair… I am hoping we can have the fair up and running by the first week of October,” said Trimbach. The fair will offer even more solid information on the clubs that will be running during the 2020-2021 school year.
Despite the chaos of online learning and uncertainty surrounding extracurriculars, clubs and activities are what keeps the spirit of our school alive, so don’t hesitate to get involved this year.