Banquets try to serve sense of normalcy

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photo by Jacob Hartman

Juniors Julia Cioca and Andrew Collazo-Borges announce winners for the ROTC raffle at their banquet on April 23. Masks were worn when not presenting during the banquet.

A night filled with karaoke, a raffle, awards and a dinner was the perfect way for JROTC to wrap up the school year. While it has been tough on everyone, that has not stopped clubs and sports from taking the time to recognize their members’ achievements. 

Because of the COVID-19 risk involved with big events like banquets, many refrained from holding them, especially early in the year. However, some clubs have tried to work around the restrictions to provide some fun alternatives, from setting up banquets in parks to social distancing inside the cafeteria. JROTC chief Enrius Collazo wanted to take the time to properly recognize the hard work of their cadets.

“It was to celebrate what happened throughout the years and accomplishments, all the over 400 accumulative committed hours that we did throughout the year,” Collazo said. “I think we deserve to do something.”

In order for a ceremony to be approved by administration, certain accommodations were put in place. Not only were masks and social distancing required, but the event had to have a short duration. 

Collazo made sure these protocols were strictly followed during their banquet on April 23, since this was JROTC’s biggest event of the year. Boxed dinners from Mission Barbeque were served to students since a buffet was not allowed. Before dinner, the change of command was held on the football field in order in order to follow social distancing guidelines and still recognize club members. 

After a slew of already canceled events, for many seniors, a banquet is one of the few events they can celebrate with their friends before graduation. 

“It sucks to think about, because I’ve been waiting all high school to get to this point and get to do all these fun things but it was just taken in a matter of weeks,” senior Sarah Rosarius said. 

Robotics chose to honor their seniors by giving them special gifts like a cord, varsity letter and a medal for all of their achievements throughout the year. Seniors were given field elements from being in Robotics for four years and a silver coin of Christa McAuliffe which no other class has received. The underclassmen stepped up and made gifts as a farewell for their seniors.

“The past four years are kind of coming to an end, but leaving presents more new opportunities,” senior Ben Steinebronn said. 

Regardless of the irregular year, banquets have allowed groups to come together to celebrate their achievements. Sports made sure to recognize their players as well to conclude their successes at the end of their season. Teams, like JROTC and Robotics, followed guidelines and protocols while making the event a fun time in this period of hardships for everyone. 

“With the conclusion of the season, the team members would have previously spent countless hours in training and competition, while the supportive family members would have spent key periods of time in the stands as well,” Getty said.

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