ASB Adapts to a Virtual Setting

ASB+Adapts+to+a+Virtual+Setting

Sierra Sugarman, Staff Writer

In a world where Zoom has become the means of social connectivity and learning, the Associated Student Body (ASB) has taken on a new way of bringing together the student community. 

After a switch to eLearning in March, Leadership events adapted to virtual platforms. The Leadership class has been working hard to maintain school spirit and student engagement in this new virtual setting as freshmen, new students and returning students adjust to an unprecedented year at Pali.

Despite limitations, ASB successfully staged a full catalogue of events this semester, including the Blood Drive, Spirit Week and Club Day. However, the switch has led to a decrease in student participation.  

“Having everything on Zoom is just not working,” Senior Class President Michael Brent IV said. “Zoom is very exhausting for people.”

As opposed to in-person learning where loudspeaker announcements and posters were used to communicate with the student body, digitized communication methods pose new challenges. 

In response, ASB has been sending frequent updates on Schoology and communicating with students through Instagram. However, freshman Class President Talia Davood said, “There’s always going to be those kids that just missed a Schoology message.”

“We’ve put out a lot on Instagram, but if you’re not following us on Instagram, then how are you going to get all the flyers that we post?” ASB President Isabel Gill asked. “When we were in school we could use announcements, now people don’t really watch the announcements very often.”

Davood created an Instagram account (@paliclassof2024) dedicated to communicating with ninth graders. Freshman concerns flooded the account during the beginning of the school year but have since slowed down. Davood hopes her outreach helped ease freshman anxiety. 

“My heart just goes out to all the freshmen,” Davood said. “We’re going to make this year a good year. We’re going to help them adjust.”

In further pursuit of that goal, ASB staged two freshman-only events, a Chipotle class fundraiser event and a question and answer Zoom with administrators. Because of the virtual format, Gill said more administrators and Leadership members, who ordinarily would have had transportation and scheduling issues, were able to participate.

There was a separate school-wide panel with administrators for students in all grade levels to address concerns and provide suggestions. 

One major concern is with the academic consequences of eLearning. “If you look at our grading breakdown, the majority of students are getting As and Bs, though there are more students failing than maybe there had been before eLearning,” Gill said. “So, I think that the students that are really struggling are really struggling, but the majority of students are doing okay or still doing well.”

Hopeful for hybrid-learning next semester, Brent said he is looking forward to the possibility of hosting traditional, in-person senior events such as prom, graduation, Grad Night and a beach day. But first, he said, “I’m trying to make sure that everyone is safe and that everyone is doing well in their classes.”

Currently, senior events remain limited to online platforms. 

If in-person school resumes in the near future, Brent predicts that school spirit will surge. “The energy of being back at school is going to be way different; it is going to be a different school,” he said.

Davood agrees, saying: “I so wish [the freshmen] could see what an amazing community Pali is and what an awesome school we are. But I’m really excited to just continue to be working with them and making sure that they see I’m someone they can just come talk to.”