Most of us can agree that 2020 has been one of the craziest years of our lives. There have been some major highs and lows, both locally and globally. Plenty of people have been focusing on the lows, like missing out on sporting events and senior traditions, so we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on the subject, and recap some of the better moments of this year at Portage Central, to remind everyone that 2020 has not been entirely bad.
Back in January, athletics were booming, with basketball, wrestling, hockey, competitive cheer, swimming and diving, and alpine skiing all being quite successful. Students filled the stands to show their love and support for our teams. The end of the semester brought us to exam week, little did we know it would be our last one for quite some time.
In February, our award winning theatre department put on multiple performances of the smash hit Mamma Mia! Athletics continued as normal, and looking back this was all the calm before the storm. Ignorance was bliss as we talked about COVID overseas, never even entertaining the idea of a lockdown.
March hit and everything changed. On March 13, governor Whitmer announced that we would not be continuing school in person for a few weeks, which we all took as an extended spring break. Once stricter guidelines were put in place, we began to understand the severity of this outbreak and its impact on the world as we knew it. March felt like a real low point for all of us, but taking action when we did helped to save hundreds of lives.
In April after spring break when we were told we wouldn’t go back to school for the rest of the semester, our staff worked hard to develop a plan for the time being to keep kids learning. Students learned remotely with google classroom assignments and office hours for every class. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors were required to complete these, but the senior class of 2020 was off the hook.
May brought us PC Good News!, a version of John Krasinski’s “Some Good News,” in an effort to brighten staff and students’ morale, giving some school news while also showing some inside perspectives of how teachers were keeping busy during lockdown. Staff members celebrated teacher appreciation week with a masked and socially distanced cookout, PC held a food drive to help out our students in need, and Mrs. Honeysett won regional teacher of the year. This month also brought lots of celebration for our senior class of 2020. Parents and staff planned what they could to congratulate our seniors, with a drive-thru graduation and lots of public praise.
As the summer months came, school news quieted like usual. Things were starting to look up, and summer practices for fall sports began, always masked and socially distanced when possible. Practices and workouts were temporarily put on hold when COVID cases started popping up in our school, but once they were under control we were back in business.
August brought us the beginning of our official fall sports season, with volleyball, women’s swim, cross country, men’s tennis, men’s soccer, and of course, football. These first COVID-friendly seasons were monumental, showing that we can always adapt to our circumstances and overcome these challenges together. We began our 2020-21 school year on the 31st, with students arriving at the school during given time slots to gather any materials needed to learn from home this semester.
In September, spectators were given the opportunity to buy tickets to sporting events if given a voucher from a player. All spectators were required to wear masks and socially distance as well as possible. Students began school remotely and started adjusting to our new way of learning via google meets and classroom assignments.
With the start of October came something huge, students were able to purchase tickets to the PC vs PN football game at McCamley field. Seniors had first dibs on tickets, and after their time slot it was first come, first serve. With the upcoming election, students who were eligible were encouraged to register to vote and let their voices be heard.
November wrapped up the majority of our fall sports and began tryouts for our winter sports. Our Volleyball team won the regional championships, but the end of their season was pushed back by new guidelines set in place by Governor Whitmer after a spike in COVID cases. Practices for winter sports were halted and switched to virtual meets instead. PC held yet another food drive for the start of the holiday season to help those in need, and our students and staff worked hard to encourage safe extracurricular activities during these uncertain times.
As this year comes to an end, the PC community wants to keep our outlook as positive as possible. This year has been rough, but plenty of growth and change has come from it. With the help and support of staff and family, PC students have been able to find the good in these new situations being thrown at them. We are incredibly grateful for everything the community has done to keep life feeling as normal as possible.
PC: Sophie Wagnon