by Grade 6-12 Principal Jason Gorst
It would be an understatement to say that the spring of 2020 was like nothing the world of education has ever witnessed. Last year in this letter I previewed the possibility of having virtual instruction on snow days. Who knew that our planning for that would come in so handy this spring. I am so proud of our staff and students for how they have come together to make the best of our current situation. The profession of an educator completely changed over the course of just a few days. From the beginning of the closure we had two main focuses. One was to prepare our students for whatever their next step in life was. Whether that be a math student preparing for the next level in that subject, a middle school student preparing for the next grade level, or a senior preparing for life after high school, we felt it our duty to do our very best under these circumstances. While I cannot say that everything went perfectly, I can with a great deal of confidence say that our best effort was put forward and that our students received as good of, if not a better education than anyone else in the country.
The second area that we were focused on was mental health. As the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months, the struggles that many of our students and families faced due the COVID-19 closure mounted. From financial hardship to social isolation, members of our community, our state, our country, well all of us … began to feel the full effects of changing our way of life. We can all be very grateful that the virus itself has not hit our local communities as hard as other areas of the world to this point. That being said, the social and emotional impact that this has had on all of our young people cannot be ignored. While the school year may be coming to a close, it is important that we stick together to help those in need and continue to check on each other’s wellbeing.
At Spencer we talk a lot about forming and maintaining relationships. With all of the barriers that have been put in place, it is more important now than ever to continue to live up to that mantra. I do not recall an end of a school year that has me looking forward to the beginning of the next as much as in 2020. We miss our students. We miss the connections. We have all learned a lot through this process and can all be better for it. We cannot wait to see our students again next year!
On to some very important recognition of students. Typically the spring is filled with banquets. While there were no banquets held this year we would like to honor the following students as they were chosen to represent Spencer High School at the following banquets before they were cancelled. The Honoring Excellence Banquet celebrates some of the top students in Marathon County. Hope Ngirwe (Valedictorian) and Aryiah Schuh (Co-Salutatorian) were our honorees with Mrs. Abbi Roehrborn as their honored educator. Hannah Zastrow (Co-Salutatorian) and Caroline Riordan were selected as the Cloverbelt Scholars with Mr. Greg Oestreich and Mrs. Katrina Rotar being chosen as their honored educators, respectively. Finally, Hannah Zastrow and Austin Bacon were selected as the Cloverbelt Scholar Athletes from Spencer.
My heart goes out to all of our seniors as they did indeed miss out on many of the opportunities they were looking forward to. We have formally moved our graduation ceremony to Aug. 1 so that we have the best opportunity to have a traditional ceremony. In the meantime, we have honored the class of 2020 with a virtual recognition on May 16, Facebook Senior Showcases, and signs in their yards to recognize them for their accomplishments. We look forward to celebrating with them properly on Aug. 1. More information will be announced via Facebook and on our Webpage.
To close, I wanted to thank the staff, students and community members in Spencer for their diligence, compassion, and pride throughout the spring of 2020. I am looking forward to the fall!