By CARLY ZHOU
Many UHS competitions and events have been canceled or modified in the interest of public safety due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Model United Nations (MUN), Science Club, Speech & Debate, Color Guard, Dance Company, National History Day (NHD), Math Club, Junior Classical League (JCL), and many other academic, arts-focused, and community service clubs have all had their events impacted in some way by the pandemic.
Many competitions at UHS have largely all been affected by COVID-19, either cancelled completely, or compromised by moving to a virtual platform.
“In accordance with guidance from the California Department of Public Health and other state and local authorities, CARCER and CAJCL Convention are canceled and will not be held this year” said a letter addressed to JCL Convention participants and sponsors from Latin teachers Mr. Mark Michalak, Mr. Josh Davis, and Senior Kasra Lekan. “We regret the necessity of these cancellations and their impact on our extensive preparations throughout the year for Convention as well as on the plans of your delegations.”
Activities that were not cancelled, such as Science Fair, Speech and Debate, and NHD, had their competitions modified or moved online. For example, Science Fair participants had to submit a three minute video in lieu of their presentation for review, while Speech & Debate had their Tournament of Champions hosted online.
“I lament the fact that the recent NHD competition our club has been preparing for will become virtual,” said junior Amerdeep Passanti, president of NHD.“ However, I am thankful that NHD did not completely cancel the competition.”
On the other end of the spectrum, FBLA, MUN, Science Club, Color Guard, Dance Company, Math Club, and JCL had their competitions cancelled.
“I, like everyone else, was extremely disappointed and frustrated that the competitions we worked so hard for got cancelled,” said senior James Chen, president of Math Club and co-president of Science Club, “ but I understand the reason behind it.”
FBLA’s State Leadership Conference, MUN’s Spring Conference, the Dance Company Showcase, JCL State Convention, Math Club’s OCC Meet, and other competitions were completely cancelled.
Beyond academic competitions, activities such as performing arts and community service were also similarly affected.
“I understand why everything is being cancelled because of the coronavirus situation, and that it is for the safety of everyone”, said junior Tara Nguyen, UHS Color Guard captain. “However, it is still disappointing that our colorguard worked so hard to get to where we are at this point in our season and now we don’t get to present our show in competition.”
Most impacted by these canceled competitions are the senior class, for whom this year was the final experience before their graduation.
“For me personally, this [MUN] conference in my senior year is something that I’ve been dreaming about putting together and leading since my freshman year,” said senior Carolyn Wang, MUN president. “And now after waiting for four years, there’s just an empty hole… [it] feels like the end of my high school journey is unresolved.”
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many students have missed out on valued experiences. However, despite the loss, many organizations encourage students to move forward.
“These are certainly unprecedented and challenging times,” CA FBLA said in a released statement about the cancellation of their state conference “To our graduating seniors -It is unfortunate that you will not have a culminating CA State Leadership Conference experience, but we trust that you will take your experiences… and do great things in your future.”