Pandemic restrictions force a break with tradition



Many CHS events must adapt due to COVID-19 concerns, including the annual Coffeehouse (Coffeehouse 2019 pictured above).

Lillian Chen

Communications High School dealt with event cancellation after event cancellation when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring. As the school enters a new year, students and staff are trying to find ways around the COVID-19 restrictions that have the power to shut down and cancel classic CHS traditions. 

“Thankfully, our class was able to run our main event for our sophomore year, Winter Ball. We were able to make significant funds from that event that set us up well heading into our junior year. At the moment, we’ve struggled to come up with fundraising events and our main junior event of Coffeehouse will likely be moved or less profitable,” said junior class president Liam Stemetzki of Wall Township. “We’re brainstorming ways to make Coffeehouse a COVID-friendly event, but those ideas haven’t been completely developed yet.”

The juniors aren’t the only ones struggling to find alternatives to events they had looked forward to planning. Profitable, yet engaging fundraisers that adhere to COVID-19 guidelines have been hard to come by for student councils.

“All of our fundraisers from last year got canceled because of the pandemic, so we are trying our hardest to raise the money that we didn’t get the opportunity to raise last year,” said sophomore class council member Marina Berger of Marlboro. “I think this could possibly affect the budget we have for future events, but I also believe that we can make the best out of it… Usually council would be planning events, such as the Winter Ball, and it’s upsetting that we can’t, but we are trying our best to think of fun alternatives.”

The sophomore class recently held a COVID-friendly fundraiser called “Cards For a Cause” to make up for some of the money they’re losing. They made over $1,000 selling boxes of cards to students’ families.

The senior class has also been largely affected by restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. In addition to losing their junior prom last spring, they are now looking at the possibility of having to modify many of the other events they had looked forward to for much of high school.

“The senior class wasn’t able to host the back-to-school dance this year, unfortunately. But we are actually doing well in terms of money,” said senior class council member Francesca McCaffrey of West Long Branch. “We’ve been talking about senior dinner, a senior picnic, and a modified senior trip. Although it’s not going to be anything close to seeing a Broadway show in NYC, we still are trying to do our best to come up with something fun and engaging for the class to do together.”

The class advisers have been doing their best to help their councils through this unfortunate time. Boosting morale and brainstorming alternate fundraisers are their top priorities right now.

We will be looking for another major fundraiser during the spring to continue to grow our class account… Since we can’t really do anything in school we are looking for fundraisers that involve the parents more and also those that can foster class spirit and unity,” said Sharyn O’Keefe, an adviser for the Class of 2023. “It is hard to have the same feeling of class spirit when everyone is not in the building at the same time.”

Karen Britto, the Class of 2022 adviser, has also been working with her council to find solutions for some of the monetary issues presented during the pandemic. 

“Our council met with the freshmen, junior, and senior class councils this past Wednesday to discuss the challenges associated with student leadership during this time and potential full school fundraisers. The meeting was productive and a true sign of the spirit at CHS,” Britto said. “The Class of ‘22 is unique, hardworking and fun and even a global pandemic can’t change that.”