West Shamokin High School students

West Shamokin High School students celebrated their 2020 homecoming festivities at halftime of their Friday night football game against Blairsville High School. The game took place at the Jack E. Boyer football field in Rural Valley. The homecoming court included, sitting, from left, Mattie Fusaro, Sophie Fusaro, Anna Chapman and Brittany Coleman, who was crowned queen. Standing, from left, were Mason Fleming, Eric Spencer, Gavin Solley and Evan Cessna, who was crowned king.

This year at West Shamokin High School, our staff is trying to make things as normal as possible for the students, considering the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Not all things are the same, and there had to be some modifications. At West Shamokin, students are attending school five days a week. The biggest change has been both gym class and lunch. For gym, students are to walk in or outside depending on the weather due to the fact that no equipment can be shared, such as balls, rackets, birdies, etc. Also, students are not permitted to change clothes for gym class. They will stay in the clothes they arrived at school in.

During lunch there are fold-out tables in the cafeteria where students can sit two students per table. In the gymnasium is where our original lunch tables can be found; at those tables students can sit three per table. While waiting to get lunch, throwing your trash away, or getting up from your seat in any way, students must wear a mask.

Students must wear a mask at all times unless eating lunch. Depending on the size of the class, the group may have a mask break if the teacher permits it. Masks are also mandatory on the bus at all times.

Students do have the option to stay at home, and some students may have some classes online and others here at the building. It is their parents’ decision based on what they think is safest.

Nevin Gulish, grade 10, is one of many students at West Shamokin who started the year off as a cyberstudent then eventually decided to attend school at the building. When asked about cyberschooling, he said the best part about it is that you get to be at home and get your work done whenever you want to. He said the worst part is not being able to see your friends.

Rachel Adamson, also a 10th-grade student, is taking classes online as well as in person. She is taking her government class online with teachers from Armstrong High School. Rachel said that a positive is work can be done whenever. She says that some negatives are that it is harder to contact her teachers as well as harder to understand the work/lessons. Rachel also said that cyberwork is much more independent.

Sophomore Niko Buffone attends school five days a week in the building. He says that the best part about coming every day is that there is direct teaching; the worst part is having to get up early every morning.

Teachers at West Shamokin High School are having to run clubs and class events differently.

Miss Alisha Fleming, senior class adviser, said that the senior class was able to paint their parking spots and will be painting the senior mural in the senior hallway, getting clothing orders and hopefully having a formal graduation later in the year. The senior class will not be holding some of their annual rite of passage events such as the Halloween carnival and, as of now, there is no Snowball, senior class trip or powder puff game.

Mrs. Angela Poster, junior class adviser, said that there is a concession stand at football games but, due to the coronavirus, students are not allowed to work it. Both Mrs. Poster and Mrs. Rebecca Frazier are working it while masked and gloved the entire time. The junior class will be holding a virtual race with Armstrong High School as a fundraiser.

Mrs. Brigitte Kennedy was asked about SADD. SADD will still be providing tools using the morning announcements/social media for peers and creating scavenger hunts. They will not be attending Project Sticker Shock, state conference, youth leadership conference or reality tour as they have in the past. There will be Teen Driving Safety Week, Red Ribbon Week, Drug and Alcohol Facts, Kick Butts Week, and Above the Influence.

Yearbook Club adviser Miss Kelsey Boarts explained that at the beginning of the school year, students were not permitted to use school cameras to take pictures at sports games and events. This recently has changed and students are now allowed to do so. The yearbook staff is not sure yet how they will take club pictures this year. Taking group pictures during a pandemic is difficult because students will have to stay socially distanced.

Senior High Student Council is run by Miss Carolyn Smith, and she stated that there will be a homecoming, Veterans Day slideshow, and hopefully Teacher Appreciation Day. Mrs. Karli Myers, who advises junior high student council, is going to attempt some fundraisers as well as small contests throughout the year.

We did, though, have a homecoming court and Spirit Week! For the girls, our court consisted of Sophie Fusaro, Mattie Fusaro, Brittany Coleman and Anna Chapman. As for the boys, it consisted of Eric Spencer, Evan Cessna, Mason Fleming and Gavin Solley. The themes for the week were Jock vs. Nerd, Biker vs. Surfer, Old vs. Young, Hillbilly vs. Hollywood and Blackout vs. Whiteout. Only the senior class votes for who is on court, and the entire school votes for the king and queen. At the football game, the homecoming court came onto the field at halftime for the crowning of king and queen. Jaiden Haswell and Rylee Riggle came back to West Shamokin after being crowned last year. Brittany Coleman and Evan Cessna won Homecoming king and queen for the Class of 2021.

Sports are other events that are still occurring this year. There are spectators, and fans must have a ticket in order to get into the games. Masks must be worn by spectators at all times, and each family must stay 6 feet away from others. Players must wear a mask at all times except when physically playing.

School is definitely different this year, but almost everyone at West Shamokin is happy and grateful to be in person.