by: Adrianna Uccello and Elma Huzejrovic
The transition alone from middle school to high school can be difficult to begin with, let alone without the help of COVID. In middle school, teachers are much more lenient with you and in my opinion, middle school was all around easier. When transitioning to the high school, you can see that things are much different.
Now, with COVID being brought into the picture, school life looks much different. With some students being full remote and others participating in the hybrid schedule, there is a broad variety of how students are participating in school this year.
Not only is school different in the aspect that there are full online students and also part-time in school students, there is also the added aspect of lunches, clubs, sports, etc. being altered.
Since we are seniors this year, we got to experience the “normal” school life for three years but as for freshman this is not the case.
We had the opportunity to interview freshman Racheal Chamberland, and ask her questions regarding her transition from middle to high school during COVID-19.
When asked about how things are different from the middle school to the high school, Rachael said, “It was much different than I expected…(the middle school) is much smaller, and you have all like your four class together, and in high school you have to walk around the whole building, but like I got the building pretty much… and in high school you’re pretty much expected to do everything on your own.”
Students are able to be much more independent now especially with COVID in the mix, because half of the student body is home everyday.
When asked about the move to high school with COVID affecting how class worked, Rachael said, On a google meet, sometimes it’s hard to focus”. Students are participating in either a fully remote learning plan or a hybrid learning plan, where half the students in the school are in school on Mondays and Tuesdays, no one is in school on Wednesdays, and the other half of the student body is in school on Thursdays and Fridays.
With losing a day of school on Wednesdays, Rachael provided some pros and cons: “You lose a day of school, but it’s easier to catch up and meet with teachers because we have a lot more time.”
Students have Wednesdays at home to work on missing assignments, but it takes away from the in-class learning time students had before COVID.
When giving advice to incoming freshman for next year, Rachael said “To not be nervous, I know it’s hard because I was so nervous, and you always get nervous on the first day, but I really like the environment here, and I really enjoy being at WHS rather than middle school.”
Students and teachers are still unaware of what the next couple months will look like due to COVID, but everyone is doing the best they can given the situation!
by: Annie Klementon
The Covid-19 situation is ever changing, which means the guidelines for a safe and enjoyable high school soccer season are flexible. The WHS girls soccer program is complying with the strict precautions at every practice and game to ensure that their sport season will not be interrupted by preventable obstacles.
Masks are a necessity for all members of the WHS community, but the girls soccer program is rarely seen without them. These masks are worn upon arrival to practice or games and kept on until the event actually begins, on the bench, sideline, or bus, and as soon as the event ends.
A single player at any level is allowed two fans to home games, but no opposing fans are permitted. Low attendance at the games is not something that has impacted the level of play, but some players feel less motivated when all of their desired guests are not watching.
The beginning weeks of the season were difficult because nothing was the same as the players remembered, but over time, they learned to focus solely on the important things, like being able to have a season at all.
In regards to the sometimes annoying protocols, junior player Cindy Biraci said, “I don’t mind the extreme measures because I know that everything is just to keep us safe and playing, which is something we all want”.
The competition is not as steep as it has been in the past for this WHS team because a small league has been composed of local towns, meaning that skill level has not been taken into account. There are three games (Middletown, Maloney, and Rocky Hill) that are pretty much guaranteed wins for Wethersfield, but two other games (Berlin and Newington) are not predetermined.
Junior Varsity coach Amanda Pace said, “All of these games are opportunities for every player to get better. They are also distracting these girls from the crazy life they are currently living and allowing them to focus on something they are good at. No game is truly easy, but the less competitive games are another way to prepare for the tougher ones coming”.
At this point in the season, the girls varsity team has completed more than half of their season, with a record of seven wins and one tie. The players and staff will continue to follow the rules for the remaining four games and any tournament that is composed for the final weeks.
Clube Português de WHS
by: Sally Jorge
WHS is introducing a new club, Clube Português de WHS, our Portuguese Club! This club meets once a month in room 304, and is run by Mrs. Russo and Ms. Martins.
They started this club to introduce this wonderful culture to more people. They are both 100% Portuguese and want to share their knowledge, experiences, and culture with anyone that wants to learn more about it.
The first meeting was last week, Anyone who went to the meeting was able to share a little bit about themselves. Both Mrs. Russo and Ms. Martins expressed their goals and ideas for this club and wanted to cater to the students' wants and desires for this club.
In a recent Interview with Ms. Martins, a WHS spanish teacher, she said “We started this club because we want to teach people about the Portuguese language and culture. We both have personal experiences and both are fluent in the language.”
Mrs. Martins is very involved in the Portuguese community. She enjoys traveling and learning about other languages and cultures and she said “I would love for students to feel that same passion. We would love to pass on the knowledge and experience to others”.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Russo, who is also a WHS spanish teacher. She expressed her thoughts on what the club's goals are. “The Portuguese club is open to everyone and we will explore and highlight the culture of Portugal.
Some of the interests that were expressed were food, share recipes, music, dances, celebrations, history, famous places to visit and learn basic words so you can have dialogue exchange. We want students to make connections to real life experiences and leave with something they can use in the future. I want this to be a fun, non-threatening program, where everyone can feel welcome.”
Mrs. Russo said, “I encourage everyone to get involved and to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. Be a part of the Portuguese Club and have fun! ”
You can too be a part of this club at anytime, just email Mrs. Russo or Ms. Martins and let them know you are interested in joining the club.
Clubs during Covid: What changes are implemented with health and safety in mind?
By: Noah Haskins and Quinn Shive
The whole world has been changed by the global pandemic and it’s undeniable that our way of living has been completely uprooted by this change. For many students, the way they go through their day to day basis is completely alien to them.
One of the biggest parts of high school are the clubs you have access to. You can join a group of likeminded people and have fun and interact with people who have the same interests as you do. At WHS in particular, we have all sorts of clubs from robotics to drama to biking and everything in between.
Nowadays, COVID-19 has changed the way students participate in these clubs. We interviewed Mr. McKinnon, the advisor of the weightlifting club, about these changes. He told us a little about his club, he said, “Weight lifting club is where any student can come and learn the proper way to strength train.”
When asked about what changes have been made due to the virus, Mr. McKinnon said, “COVID has altered how our club will operate. For one, we are going to assign lifting groups per squat rack, this way the same students will workout together each day. Also, we will be completing a self-assessment google form each day. This form allows the student to recognize if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID. During our workouts, we are required to wear masks to help prevent any spread.”
One of the clubs completely flipped on its head is our drama department, run by Mr. Roets. We asked him the biggest negative aspect of the situation that's affected his club, he told us, “Not being able to rehearse together. Due to social distancing, we have to rehearse from home.”
When asked about the participation rate this year, oddly enough they both had opposite responses with Mr. McKinnon saying, “At this time, we have not had any changes in our participation rate. The occasional absence from a student still happens if they get called into work or something comes up.”
Mr Roets had a different experience, saying, “Yes, mainly because we have to do it online and people are tired of being online”
Both clubs have had to change how they operate significantly, but it goes to show how much these clubs mean to the students and teachers, continuing to do what they love no matter the barriers in the way.
When asked about overcoming these boundaries, Mr. Roets told us, “It has pushed us to become more creative than we have ever had to be. We are releasing an episodic play instead of one large-scale production.”
Mr. McKinnon put our lives in the midst of a global pandemic best, saying, "When adversity hits, there are only two options...fold and quit because that's easy, or take it head on and get better! We teach our student-athletes to take it head on. This is a huge life lesson, and they are conquering it!”
To find more information about clubs, click this link, which brings you to the club page of the WHS Website.
By: Matthew Fletcher and Bobby Schiavone
With the Wethersfield basketball season right around the corner, starting shooting guard and senior captain Luke Latina gets ready for an exciting yet different season, he prepares to get locked into a game…with a catch.
He won’t see anyone’s full face and will enter the game with no fans in the building due to Covid-19 protocols. We asked him some questions to get his feel for what this season has to bring.
When asked about the new potential safety protocols in place, Latina said, “The CIAC is doing a great job in what they have prepared for us and making sure our season goes on as scheduled.”
He also believes that they will play every scheduled game on time with these protocols put in place.
Latina is concerned but hopeful for the culture of the locker room without fans and with masks, saying, “It will be different, I think everyone will be thankful that everyone will be able to play since they know they have a better opportunity to play.”
When he asked about not having fans, Latina said, “I think it will be a bummer to not see fans in the stands but I feel confident the other captains and I are good enough leaders to get our team where we want them, mentally and physically, the whole game and in big moments.”
Latina believes these protocols will give his team an advantage, saying, “With no outside noise and background antics, kids can have a less stressful experience on the court.”
He thinks that kids will ease into the offense and defense easier with just his team and nobody else around them.
At the end of the day, no one knows how the season will end up, but this senior captain believes in everything the CIAC has to offer for their senior season and can't wait to start playing.
By: Erica Christie
The entire world has been turned upside down, so it is no surprise that things at Wethersfield High School have changed. One of the things that has specifically changed is the new COVID-19 guidelines for the girls volleyball team.
This is my fourth and final year as a member of the program and it is definitely a season that I , and everyone else have never experienced before. And although I am sure that other participants in high school fall sports feel the same, the major thing that separates volleyball from the crowd is that coaches and players are required to wear face masks during all games and practices.
According to the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference), “ Masks must be worn by coaches at all times…When practicing indoors masks should be worn by students if they feel they can play without distraction and are able to continue adequate respiration.”
Why does only volleyball have to wear masks but field hockey and soccer players get tonplay face covering free?
As claimed by CIAC, “Although there is infrequent close contact between opposing players involved with this sport, the fact that activities for this sport are occurring indoors and involve significant physical exertion and forceful communication with teammates, the risk for person‐to‐person spread of infectious droplets is elevated for this specific sport.”
Even though these conditions are less than ideal, when compared to not having a season at all, most of the girls on the team will happily pull the straps around their ears and get on the court.
When asked if she would rather wear a mask than not have a season, senior captain Kathleen Sullivan answered, “I would definitely rather play with a mask on then not have a season at all. I still like playing and it’s really not that much different with the mask on.”
Other players also share the same mindset towards the masks. Senior captain Gabriella Amoddio said, ”It took some time to adjust and I definitely still struggle during long rallies but overall it’s really not that bad.”
With the mask guidelines and overall risk of contracting COVID- 19, participating in this 2020 season was a tough decision for some, but the temptation to be back on the court was too strong to pass up.
Varsity head coach Katie Stanley said, “ After talking with my family and the athletic department about the safety measures set in place, I felt comfortable and safe to coach. I was approached with a unique opportunity to coach the varsity team this year and have had a great experience so far!”
All in all, WHS girls volleyball isn’t letting the masks stop them and the girls and I are excited to play the rest of this season.
It’s no secret that Connecticut and the CIAC have canceled their football season and moved it to the Spring due to COVID-19. As a senior on the Wethersfield High School football team, I decided to interview my teammates and a coach to see what they think about it.
I ran into senior starting quarterback Vasilios Tsipouras and asked how he felt about Connecticut’s football season getting postponed, he said ,“It’s tough for the whole program. Mentally, kids are getting more depressed and more anxious because they can’t play with their football family until the spring. Hopefully it's a safer environment, with less COVID. But for now we are going to get stronger and build as a family.”
The CIAC has claimed to follow through with having a spring season with a maximum of 5 games and no playoff extension. Although, if COVID rates drop significantly then there may be a chance of having a small playoff extension.
Head Coach of the WHS football program, Coach McKinnon, was asked how he felt about the postponing of the fall season to the spring. He said, “It was hard to take in at first. I understand, with the metrics, and the safety that goes with it, but the big thing that I don't understand is every other sport is playing, but football is being singled out. We never got a specific answer to that question from DPH or from CIAC which made all the football coaches in the state upset. We are hoping now that February is a go.”
To gain more information about what my teammates thought, I knew I had to ask someone who I know that absolutely loves football and secretly gives every second of his day to getting better at what he does, just like me. I asked junior linebacker, Tyler Burgos, what he thought about the season getting canceled. He said, “I was kinda hoping to go into fall to start practicing with the team, having games, and then bringing home a championship with my boys. But now with the season being moved to the spring, it just gives us more time to get a lot stronger, faster, and more elite to dominate the season no matter how many games we get.
After interviewing Coach McKinnon and my teammates on the Wethersfield Football Team, I realized that at the end of the day, we were all on the same page. Everyone on the team really wants to start playing games again. As Coach McKinnon said during his interview, it isn’t fair how the CIAC isn’t giving anyone an answer as to why the football season is canceled and the other sports get to conduct their normal season. Whatever happens, I know the coaching staff and my teammates on the WHS football team are ready to get back to work and completely dominate the spring season.
Although WHS football players and coaching staff are disappointed with the decision of the CIAC to move the football season to the spring, all of us are still very happy the season wasn’t canceled fully. We are one hundred percent ready to get back to playing games and playing some football with our brothers.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.