A Wild Ride: The 2020-21 School Year

For 2021 seniors, the past year has been a memorable one.


Austin Williams, Staff Editor

It is rare that events happen where their effects ripple down to every aspect of our lives. It is rare to have an event where time is designated as before the event and afterwards. No recent event better exemplifies this than the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Windsor C-1 School District and schools across the world to switch to all-virtual learning for a period of time, which ended up being the rest of the school year. This created a lot of speculation about the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the odds, the school year went on, even though it looked quite a bit different.

For all of the school year up until February 1, 2021, Windsor High School operated on a hybrid learning schedule. The first half of the alphabet went to school on Monday’s and Tuesday’s with the other half of the alphabet going to school on Thursday’s and Friday’s. Wednesday was, and remains for the rest of the school year, a virtual day.

Senior Anthony Johnson said, “When I jumped from all virtual to a hybrid schedule, that was a big shift in my day because it went from me doing two to three hours of work and doing nothing for the rest of the day or doing whatever I wanted for the rest of the day to having kind of a regimented schedule with a break in the middle. The shift, for me, wasn’t too horrendous. It was kind of a ‘woah’ moment, and then probably after the second day, I got a handle on it.”

The new schedule wasn’t the only thing to get used to. Sports and activities looked quite different as well. For teacher Michelle Dalaviras, all of the new changes had her navigating a new world.

“It was very different because of having to go at things in a different way. Not being able to do a lot of our extracurricular activities the same way,” Dalaviras said. “The two days here for the kids was okay, but I felt like I was having to reteach it (lessons) for the next group. It was slow. I felt like my curriculum was moving slow for most of the year, but everyone was trying to do the best they could for everybody.”

Dalaviras is also the coach for the Speech and Debate team. Speech and debate usually requires students to travel to other schools and compete live. This year, things looked quite different.

Dalaviras said, “My speech team usually becomes a little family and they do everything together and they hang out together. We usually travel to schools and compete live in front of judges, and a lot goes into that like nerves and how you compete right there at that minute. But this year, we had to do it virtually. The kids had to record themselves doing their pieces. I had a lot more computer work to do with it, which I did not like. I did not like judging online…I didn’t like that the kids weren’t getting their camaraderie with not just their team but with the other teams.”

But despite the lack of physical interaction with other competitors, the Windsor Speech and Debate team did well.

“Out of the seven kids (who participated in Speech this year), I had five of them go to state. I guess this year was more about quality than quantity. I didn’t have a million entries every competition, but I did have quality entries,” Dalaviras said.

Speech and Debate wasn’t the only activity that was affected like this. For senior Anthony Johnson and other students, band was not the same. The band saw changes to their show and their competitive season.

Johnson said, “One thing was for marching band. The show kind of changed last minute. The show we were gonna get was not the show that we got this year. That is one thing that I missed out on. (And during the season), all we could play was home games. And then we had the assemblies every now and then.”

With these changes, it can be easy to have a negative mindset. Johnson, however, preferred to keep a positive attitude when thinking about the year.

“I’m excited I got to do jazz band. We’re actually having a concert too. So I’m excited that’s still going on. Even though we didn’t go to any festivals, we still got to play as a group, and that’s what’s most important,” Johnson said.

February 1st marked the starting date of what can be called “almost normal” for the 2020-2021 school year. This was when students started attending school four days in-person on Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s with Wednesday’s remaining a virtual day. It was also the day that students of both sides of the alphabet got to see each other since the previous school year.

The switch to a four day schedule was a turning point for the year. To students, its almost-normal feel made the year better.

“It improved the year a vast amount. It vastly improved the year. When we had that two days on, two days off type of thing, it made people feel like ‘I’m going two days of school and it’s useless,’” Johnson said. “The (four day schedule) definitely works.”

The four day schedule also allowed the seniors to experience senior traditions that, previously, were up in the air. On April 26, seniors took a field trip to Ferd B. Lang Park for Senior Day in the Park. On May 1, both seniors and juniors got to experience prom with a countryside setting at Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, MO. Currently, the Class of 2021 is scheduled to graduate at the Windsor High School football field on May 25.

Despite the numerous changes and setbacks students and teachers had to experience this year, it seems like the end of this year might prove that happy endings do exist. And with the happy ending comes lessons the students and staff of WHS will never forget.

“This year was definitely a crazy one, and it was one that taught a lot of lessons. It showed a lot of people things,” Johnson said. “Despite the fact that we did have a lot of things shut down on us, and we did have a lot of ‘no’s’ being told to us, we still made a way to figure out how this year was going to benefit us.”