By the West Side Story Staff
The year 2020 was a wild ride for everyone. When 2019 was coming to a close, everyone seemed to be looking to a hopeful new year, but that changed very quickly. Here is a review of the most important events of 2020, a combined effort of the West Side Story staff.
Hooray, hooray! A new year has arrived! Everyone is speaking of how great the year 2020 will be. January certainly was great! It was made official that West High would be getting major renovations, Morristown learned of a new trampoline park coming to town, and so much more was in the works. It was a new decade and a fresh start.
How much better could this year get already. FBLA rocked their regional competition, Dr, Perry shared fun facts, and underclassmen night proves successful among other things. The Lakeway area also about turned into a lake with record rain and missed school for students, but that wasn’t going to stop us.
March, it started out great, but things were starting to get rocky. The news had given mention of this virus overseas but not many found it to be a big deal at first. Choir took a trip to New York where they performed at the statue of liberty and other places. The HOSA blood drive proved successful and FCCLA provided for the community. This was all great, but things started to go downhill. Tornados ripped through middle Tennessee taking at least 24 lives and destroying homes. Then Covid-19 made its way to North America and spread rapidly. Schools dismissed thinking they would be able to return in a few weeks. The first quarantine day for the Trojan Nation was Monday March 17, 2020 and school did not resume until Sept. 8, 2020. A few weeks turned into a month, and eventually turned into the rest of the school year.
How to fight the quarantine blues? People could have baked brownies for when they were bored and wanted a snack. Ways to help other people during the quarantine was on many students’ minds. Being isolated due to Covid-19 was a hard time for everyone. People realized not only how important it was to take care of family, but helping the community around them was vital. Teachers began to learn Loom and Zoom techniques during the gloom and doom of April. Spring began, and much like COVID-19, it came without warning or remorse. Students’ lawns changed to a green landscape, and they watched flowers bloom from their home windows.
Murder Hornets were spotted in the United States for the first time on May 8 in Washington state, killing the already endangered bee population. A new relief bill was announced on May 18, 2020 granting undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for financial aid during the pandemic. On May 30, 2020 President Trump claimed WHO was false informing about Covid-19 and cut off ties from the organization.
The MLB (Major League Baseball) 2020 London series was canceled due to Covid-19 that was originally scheduled for June 13-14, 2020. Monday, June 22, 2020, Apple kicked off their developer conference in Cupertino, California after millions of people watched the WWDC20 Event live stream. They met virtually with more than 1,000 Apple engineers to learn about all of Apple’s latest technology. Apple had over 50 Sessions that gave opportunities for the developers to explore the new features such as face sharing for the watchOS 7 and Scribble in iPadOS 14. Students waited patiently to learn of graduation and prom dates.
As Covid-19 cases increased, more mandates of quarantine were placed in many countries all around the world. On July 18, 2020. France’s Nates Cathedral caught fire, leaving the inside of the cathedral burned down. Later in the month, Oxford University recorded that they had made progress on the Covid-19 vaccine. July 18, 2020 the junior ACT was finally administered. The Class of 2020 finally walked across the stage at a socially distanced ceremony at Burke-Toney Stadium July 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. A free Prom was then held in the gymnasium July 25, 2020 with students and staff wearing masks for the first time in the building.
Hamblen County schools had their first day of school pushed forward to Sept. 8, 2020. Seniors will be graduating on June 4, 2021. There was a wildfire in California. There were devastating Hurricanes that made Landfall. These storms strengthened, some obtaining a peak intensity involving sustained winds of 85 mph (140 km/h). Mask were really starting to become part of everyday life. Students completed a survey if they would attend school virtually, and back to school supplies were purchased with anticipation of a new school year. Hundreds of school laptops were prepared and deployed.
Hamblen County schools began on Sept. 8, 2020. West welcomed new staff Sydney Terry, math, Kelly Ezell, counseling, and Katy Rush, special education. Fall sports were finally into swing. For the first time, all students and staff utilized Google Classroom as a new learning platform. Some students learned from home while many participated in person. Students were to receive free school lunches due to the Pandemic. The Family Fun Zone location in Morristown had a target date of late September. Getting close to the end of September the Wildfires were raging through the California Hills destroying everything in its path.
As October rolled around, so did football season. This was a challenge as people wanted to have fall sports, but also keep everyone safe. Social distancing and masks were made a requirement when not on the field, and stadium occupancy was limited. This proved that this year was full of learning experiences. The football team missed the Hardin Valley game due to an enforced quarantine. Unfortunately, the volleyball season was cut short due to COVID-19. Trick or treating and other fall activities continued at discretion of family choice.
November, just like every other month of 2020, was a bit of a wild ride. On the third of November, election day in the United States took place, but it wasn’t until days later that Biden’s win was announced. Not just this, but the United States officially left the Paris Agreement, instated to battle climate change, not long after election day. Of course, these are not the only things that happened in November. During this month, attention flew to the strange appearances of monoliths all over the world. The appearances of these odd structures gained plenty of attention from people all over the world, inspiring news coverage, articles, and even memes. Also, for the first time in years, the Trojan Nation got a week-long fall break, a welcome reprieve for the students! Additionally, West Side Story’s top article in the month of November was a feature on the new math teacher, Sydney Terry, written by staff member Maylea Brown. West High also filled 50 Thanksgiving boxes for the Thanksgiving Drive this year!
December was the big finale of the craziness that was 2020. Tuesday, Dec. 1 was Hamblen County’s first snow day! After this, December brought big news about the Coronavirus: on Dec. 4, it was announced that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed 65 million worldwide, with the global death toll exceeding 1.5 million. However, later on in the month, the Coronavirus vaccine began its distribution, which may help to lower the mortality rate in the coming months. On a lighter note, the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky occurred later on in the month of December, a beautiful, historic event. West Side Story’s top article for December 2020 was an update on the construction going on at West, written by Andrew Goodman. His article surpassed 200 views! Additionally, in December, Trojan Nation masks and t-shirts went out to students, and Mrs. Cathy Bowen directed her final concert with the West High music department before retiring. Mrs. Bailiff-Noe was crowned Teacher of the Year during December as well!
May Resources: https://www.infoplease.com/may-2020-current-events-us-news
July Resources: https://www.infoplease.com/july-2020-current-events-world-news
November Resources: https://ballotpedia.org/Presidential_election,_2020