Laconia High School binds and revives the Sachem spirit | Local News

LACONIA — On the Friday before spring break, a changing population of 500 teenagers and teachers reveled in Field Day, the latest outdoor event for Springapalooza — Laconia High School’s antidote to student disconnect and disaffection at the following COVID-19.

Outside on the sports field behind the high school, squads of kids and staff laughed and competed at cornhole, Frisbee and tug-of-war while others watched or waited their turn, or gobbled hot cheeseburgers on a grill.

New this year, Springapolooza was inspired by the ice-breaking and spirit-restoring success of the winter carnival in February, according to LHS officials. It also served as a springboard to April Break, a bond-building reminder that students and teachers are back as one.

“The design module is that we’re all here together, re-establishing that after a year,” LHS Principal Jim McCollum said as he surveyed the landscape of Field Day. Behind the school, teachers and students formed a stormy sea of ​​red jackets, shirts and sweatshirts worn for Sachem Red Day.

The programming of activities between April 18 and 22 was contagious. Springapalooza featured lip-syncing contests between different classes, teachers, and students — events that raised $350 in donations for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Participants filled boxes with toiletries for a homeless shelter.

The themed costumes changed daily. On country or country club day, students and teachers wore cowboy hats and boots, or tennis or golf attire. Dress to Impress Day involved showing up to school as if for a job interview. Another day, young and old dressed up as iconic twins or duos.

“Administrators and guidance counselors all recognized that this was one of the routes back to the culture we all had and our Sachem spirit,” McCollum said. “They have the opportunity to normalize socialization and compete in a safe environment with their peers and teachers” and restore the joviality and familiarity that define the quality of school life.

“It makes me feel like we’re here together and like one big family,” said Natalie Johnson, an elder. During the remote and hybrid formats of 2020 and 2021, “I missed seeing everyone and hanging out with friends.”

“I think it lifts the spirits before the holidays, so we’re ready to come back,” said Adam Paiva, a senior. During COVID’s shift to classes via teleconference, when teachers and classmates appeared in squares on a computer screen, “We weren’t sure how others were feeling” and not everyone was not comfortable talking, Paiva said. “I think a lot of people lost their confidence on quarantine because you just weren’t seeing everyone.

“Our school is like a city family,” said Angel Ross, a senior. “It’s been a great idea to connect people since COVID hit and it’s starting to bring people together.” During remote school, Ross said she felt cut off from the kids she knew. “In person, you have a better connection. You can feel their emotion. You can’t always feel the emotion through the words” on the screen.

“Coming back, it was kind of refreshing to have everything back to normal,” said Colby Salway, a junior. “It’s a nice break after all the stuff they’re pushing you with before the break. You have a project to hand in on Thursday, then come here on Friday and it’s pretty cool!”

Garland K. Long