An Ipswich Overview of 2020

Jake Scruton, Journalist

Thursday, March 19th, 2020: The students at Ipswich High School were given an unexpected two days off at the end of a long week due to concerns over COVID-19. Students were excited for a long weekend, not thinking twice about whether or not they just had their last day of the school year. However, those two days turned into two weeks, and two weeks turned into two months, and ultimately the rest of the year. The coronavirus had hit America hard as cases spread like wildfire. The cancelation of the school year was just the start of the long list of cancellations and changes to our everyday life that was to come that year. However, even with a different year, it was no match for Ipswich High School students. They impacted their community, adapted to the new changes, and made the best out of difficult situations.

The graduating class of 2020 was among the first victims of the repercussions of covid. Not only were their last sports seasons canceled, but they also missed out on events that are looked back on for years to come, like graduation and prom. But, hard times always lead to creativity, and that creativity was on full display for graduation. Ipswich High’s graduation consisted of a small parade that ended at Crane’s beach, where the drive-in graduation occurred. Senior class Vice President Ethan Driscoll was disappointed in not having a normal graduation. However, he was happy with the alternative solution that was made, “I think being able to have things like the parade prior to the actual graduation was really special because we got to see everyone in Ipswich watch as we drove to our graduation.” Unfortunately, creativity could not solve all the events that failed to take place this year. For Vice President Driscoll, Prom was one he wished he could have had back, “Given that we were able to have our prom at the Crane Estate I think a lot of us were really excited to be able to experience that but unfortunately we weren’t able to have it.” Along with seniors missing out, a spring sports season was also lost due to Covid.

Excited for a new season in which she expected her tigers to dominate, Riley Daily of the Ipswich Tigers Girls Lacrosse team was raring to go for her junior year. After only losing one senior in a dominant year the previous season, the Tigers were ready to take the league by storm and compete for a North title. Daly said, “The team would’ve been such a powerhouse and we were predicted to go pretty deep into playoffs”. However, that all changed as it seemed as though covid would get in the way of a great season. Daly expressed the agony of waiting for the ruling on whether the season would take place, “At first I was expecting the season to be canceled, but in a way, they kept giving false hope by saying it’s just going to be delayed and all that kinda talk. Also, the lacrosse season was canceled I think four days before it was supposed to start so everyone thought we were really going to have one.” Covid had claimed its first sports season and ended the school year on a negative note. An unfortunate end to the school year led to an odd summer. Usually filled with trips to the beach and hanging out with friends, this summer was full of social distancing, mask-wearing, and a ridiculous amount of hand sanitizer. However even with these restrictions, the students of Ipswich High school were able to make a difference in their community.

The world had just begun to get used to life with covid when George Floyd, an innocent African American from Minneapolis, was killed by a police officer. This killing led to an uprising across the country and the globe, with Black Lives Matter protests happening on every street corner. Although Ipswich was far from the site of the horrific murder, the town still participated in the civil rights movements, their students taking a lead role in the proceedings. Tigers senior Cece McElwain was one student who stood up for what she thought was right, “It felt really cool to be a part of something that was happening everywhere. I think it is really important to make your voice heard wherever you are and whatever you are fighting for.” McElwain, just one of many students in Ipswich who represented the school in this fight for equality, thought it was great to see her community come together and stand up for something as big and as important as the Black Lives Matter movement this summer.

A stressful summer in some ways came to a close and a new school year was upon us, with a few changes. Unlike many other schools that began fully remote, Ipswich started their year using the hybrid model. The beginning of the week is spent at home doing remote learning while the other half is in school. Star student Domenic Morello sees the benefits of working hybrid but also misses his in-school learning. Morello thinks that, “There are merits to both the hybrid and traditional style of learning. The ability to sleep in later and work from home has been great, but I miss being able to get to know my teachers and have interactions with other students in the class.” Missing the social side of the school is a big problem for many students and their learning styles. The ability to communicate with your classmates and work out problems is virtually removed from classrooms. Morello says, “There’s very little talking in classes anymore, and the only time to truly socialize is during lunch,” says Morello, “As a senior, it sucks that I have not seen or talked to most of the other seniors since last March.” Although students do miss normal in person classes, the hybrid model of learning has been a great alternative and has avoided students having to sit behind screens all day.

About nine months after school got canceled for Covid concerns at Ipswich High School, we are still nowhere near normalcy. School is partially online, and when you are in school, masks are necessary. Sports continue to see changes, and some might never hit the field this year. Nonetheless, Ipswich High’s students will continue to positively influence their community, as they take lessons learned from a tough year and use them in the years to come.