ASB-19

ASB-19

By YASNA RAHMANI
Staff Writer

Student Activities Coordinator, Aren Apelian(left), and Spirit and Rally Commissioner, Kavin Krishnam(right), adapt to a COVID-19 school year (Aren Apelian and Kavin Krishnam).

Behind nearly every school activity and the cheering crowds at football games is the Associated Student Body (ASB). For years, ASB has served to build school spirit and provide UHS students with the opportunity to have a fulfilling high school experience. However, the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic severely limit the ways in which ASB can work this school year. Planning school-wide activities such as football games, pep rallies, and Spirit Week is a routine ASB duty that has taken the biggest hit during the pandemic. Two ASB positions, the Student Activities Coordinator (SAC) and the Spirit and Rally Commissioner, have previously been heavily involved in coordinating and hosting these events. With a significant portion of their duties restricted, these ASB members have taken new approaches to their position this year.
Because school did not go online until after the ASB primaries last school year, both members signed up as candidates for their positions under the impression that they would be able to conduct the positions’ routine tasks. However, they were faced with unprecedented challenges. UHS’ SAC, senior Aren Apelian, chose to approach these challenges with a positive attitude.
“Although I can’t really do the normal pep rally and football game shenanigans, I still have a lot of other ways I can help out,” said Apelian. “For instance, I’ve become more involved with Univision and helping them deliver all the morning announcements through that medium.”
The Spirit and Rally Commissioner is well known for boosting school spirit at events alongside the SAC. Because of the absence of social events, UHS’ Spirit and Rally Commissioner, senior Kavin Krishnam, expressed his frustration with the limitations he has to work within.
“I would say the appeal of my position has lowered a lot with the current situation,” Krishnam said. “The position of Spirit and Rally relies a lot on school events, sporting games, crowds, and people in general, something this pandemic has taken from us.”
The SAC and Spirit and Rally Commissioner have branched out into different projects to help bring a sense of community back to the UHS campus. The SAC has increased his involvement in Univision by introducing a new segment where he uses skits to inform, entertain, and unify the student body. On the other hand, the Spirit and Rally Commissioner has chosen to foster school spirit through student art. 
“My hope this year as Spirit and Rally Commissioner is to help beautify the school through different long-lasting art projects,” Krishnam said. “With Spirit Week and other art-related events that make the school look great, they only last a week or so…. I pushed for the Vans art competition.”
The Vans art competition encourages students to express their creativity on a pair of Vans shoes, and the winners will have their designs displayed in the library. The project was envisioned by Krishnam, Technology Commissioner senior Arush Mehrotra, and the librarian Mr. Dominic Fratantaro, and it has recently been approved by the rest of ASB.
Along with the lack of school events, strict safety guidelines led to many gray areas when it came to proposing new projects. 
“The approval from the district and the ever-changing state guidelines have played a major role in preventing our ability to do anything,” Apelian said.
Apelian and Krishnam discussed having to put many of their ambitions on hold when faced with the increasing number of Orange County COVID-19 cases. However, the pandemic’s conditions are gradually improving with the introduction of vaccines.
“We’re starting to be able to do more and more slowly. I’ll keep some of the specifics under wraps as we still have to get some of these projects approved by the district,” Apelian said. “But we should see more and more events with the goal of helping bring the Uni community back together.” 
The pandemic has brought about many changes in students’ school lives, from shortened instruction time to the two-person lunch tables, but it has presented additional challenges to the students whose ASB campaign promises were to deliver their peers a great year. The SAC and Spirit and Rally chose to approach this time of strife by adjusting and doing what they can to liven the once rampant sense of community within our school.
“You just have to be willing to adapt and put in the work,” Apelian said.