Normalcy Returns to The Hill
The 2021-2022 school year marks the in-person return of all clubs, sports, and Student Council (StuCo) activities.
With the new schedule allotting two 25-minute periods to activities, clubs will move from Zoom meetings to in-person meetings. Additionally, the long-anticipated Activities Fair will take place in person on September 20 and 24. Head of PAWS Caroline McCarthy ’22 explains, “I think the Fair is a unifying time on campus and it really kicks the fun parts of school into gear.”
Coordinator of Student Activities Teresa Picarrazi describes the importance of in-person activities, “Clubs and activities help build community in so many ways!” McCarthy explains that she feels better connected to the community while in person, “I’m excited to have a...fair this year and to get as many people to sign up for my group as possible, and to join a bunch of clubs too.” Picarrazi echoes this idea, “It is important for students to gather together and share their interests out- side of the classroom and to work toward tangible objectives. Reinstating in-person Activities will bring Hopkins one step closer toward being a more inclusive and cohesive space.”
McCarthy describes the struggles of online Activities and the decline of Club participation, “Clubs were having so many fewer meetings as it was hard to motivate people to get on another Zoom at, like, 7:00 p.m.” She continues, “I think having in-person club meetings during the school day is going to increase participation which will be especially great for the students, and the organizations that various clubs assist.”
Athletes are also preparing for preseason and the return of sports games. Although Covid preventions will be in place, the season will be similar to that of before the pandemic. Director of Medicine Don Bagnall explains that the Covid protocols vary depending on the sport, “... mask usage may be altered in terms of practicing/playing athletics. We require masks usage inside buildings, and sidelines, but do not need to wear masks on the outside fields & courts.” Bagnall provides an example of this in the volleyball team: “if volleyball is inside, they may be required to wear masks while practicing/playing matches.”
Students anticipate the upcoming sports season to be uncertain. Co-Captain of Girls Varsity Soccer Jenny Alaska ’22 says that this year, “our big challenge is trying to make sense of a team with many younger players that we’ve never seen play before, and building up a team that hasn’t played together at all. We also have no idea what our competition will look like either since the last time we played our big rivals was about two years ago, and we really only saw the older talent play. ” However, she is excited for the season to start and meet the new teammates, “There are so many little traditions that make our team so special and it makes the fall time my favorite time on campus. I think soccer friendships are some of the best ones you can find!”
Lastly, StuCo plans to bring back in-person events such as the Back-to-School Bash and the Connecticut Food Bank Fundraiser (CFBF). Junior Class President Dev Madhavani ’23 expounds on his excitement to share traditions with new students, “During the past year, StuCo created a lot of virtual events to make up for in-person events that were canceled. It was very tough to do fundraising or dances virtually, so some of our events were trivia nights or game nights over Zoom.” He continues, “We can finally return to some of our beloved traditions that many new students from the past couple of years haven't been able to see. I remember how cool Five Golden Rings was my first time, so a lot of kids will be looking forward to these types of events.”
However, Student Council President Albert Yang ’22 explains how the evolving safety procedures could impact StuCo events: “In response to the changing guidelines, StuCo will make sure that all events are run safely and responsibly, following all policies in place. We are looking forward to integrating virtual with in-person events if needed.”
Seniors are excited to begin their final year on The Hill. Yang elaborates, “I can’t wait to get back to school and see the entire Hopkins community in action.” McCarthy wants to make up for lost time, “I really hope to be able to look back on my senior year in June and feel that I was able to help Hopkins and the New Haven community through my Club participation.” Alaska comments, “I’m looking forward to a year that mimics the first half of sophomore year. That means all of the dances and Homecoming festivities that come with fall time. I’m also looking forward to jumping back into our normal routine- except now I’ll get to have all of the new excitements of being a senior on campus."