The Spoke May 2020

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2020 senior destinations map pages 6-7 Conestoga High School, Berwyn, PA 19312

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Volume 70 No. 7

020 Class of 2

Daily Life Shut down

Exploring the effects of COVID-19 on the community By Richard Li

News Editor Emeritus The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals from across the state, country and world, leading to widespread quarantine orders and drastic changes to people’s daily lives. This issue of The Spoke examines life under quarantine in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District — how students and faculty have felt the impact of the school closure on their personal, academic and social lives.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Pennsylvania’s first COVID-19 cases on March 6, with more cases confirmed in the following days, bringing Pennsylvania’s total to 21 by March 12. With the majority of cases being located in Montgomery County at this time, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera ordered all Montgomery County schools to be closed for two weeks. Although a part of Chester County, the district is in close proximity to Montgomery County and employs a significant number of faculty and staff who reside in Montgomery County. As a result, on the evening of March 12, Superintendent Richard Gusick announced that all T/E schools would be closed and that all school-related activities would be suspended until the tentative date of March 26. As the COVID-19 outbreak spread further across the state, Gov. Wolf ordered the indefinite closing of all K-12 schools in Pennsylvania, which was followed by a statewide stay-athome order. On April 9, Wolf announced that all schools in Pennsylvania would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The district adjusted to the closure with the implementation of a distance learning program which began on March 18 to continue instruction throughout the duration of the mandatory school closure. distance learning also features Work Well Wednesdays for students to catch up on work as well as office hour sessions for

Ananya Kulkarni/The SPOKE

Closed for the year: Caution tape blocks the school entrance to the main parking lot outside the school entrance. Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera announced on April 9 the closure of all Pennsylvania schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic school year because of concerns about the coronavirus.

students to meet with teachers and seek additional assistance. The district and local organizations have also supported the community with meals, electronic devices for distance learning and assistance with distance learning inquiries. As of May 19, Chester County has 2,008 coronavirus cases, while Pennsylvania has 62,234 cases and the United States has 1.54 million cases. As the current situation continues to develop, the community has remained unified, and students, faculty and their families across the district have all worked to adapt to these widespread changes.

Spoke coronavirus coverage: News:

T/E Life:

Distance Learning

Social distancing Gameless Consumerism during COVID-19 applies to friends recruitment pg. 2



pg. 5

pg. 8

Additional stories online at

Photo gallery: Pandemic in pictures pg. 12

pg. 11


T/E community supports members struggling during pandemic Sophia Pan

Co-Managing Editor Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the T/E community has found ways to come together. According to an April 17 update by Superintendent Richard Gusick, TESD parents and organizations have raised over $10,000 in donations, supplies and gift cards to support those struggling because of the pandemic. The district and local organizations are working to distribute donations quickly and safely during the quarantine. “Soon after the closing of school, I received notice from one of our counselors about a family in desperate need of food and other essential items. Moments later, I received an email from a parent saying, ‘What can we do to help?’ This parent then went out to purchase the items needed along with some gift cards and delivered them to my porch. On the same day, I was able to provide this generous support to the family in need,” said Oscar Torres, the district’s director of state and federal programs and curriculum supervisor. “Making connections such as this, while maintaining confidentiality, has been incredibly

gratifying as we continue to support our families in need.” The school’s food services department and district administrators have also been providing breakfast and lunch to families who rely on those meals when children are in school, totaling about 5,000 meals every two weeks. In response to a need for technology because of distance learning, the district has provided over 130 iPads to students, and the Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown (FLITE) has worked to bring internet access to students and teachers. “The nice thing about FLITE is we have a lot of really committed donors in our area, both individuals, businesses, as well as foundations. And as a result of that support, we’ve been able to maintain a little emergency fund, and so when something like COVID-19 happens fairly quickly, we can respond equally quickly,” FLITE Chairman Vijay Aggarwal said. “In the case of internet access, we got a call from the superintendent of the T/E School District saying, ‘Can you provide this internet access?’ and we were able to say yes within maybe 36 hours.” FLITE has also been working to create programs to sup-

port those struggling because of the pandemic. The foundation is partnering with local charity Tredyffrin & Easttown Care (T&E Care), which has received over $85,000 in donations since the lockdown began. T&E Care President Sandi Gorman explains that the organization works mainly to help community members pay rent and utility bills to ensure that “people don’t get caught with monster bills in two or three months because they just haven’t paid them.” With T&E Care’s help, families are able to use money originally designated to paying a bill to buy food. “We are spending a lot of money, so it’s great to have that money coming in, but never in my wildest dreams did we expect to see this much money get donated to us,” Gorman said. “It just makes it easier for us to be able to say yes when somebody comes to us with a request because we know the community is there helping to support us.” Gorman appreciates all that the community has done during the pandemic. “We live in a community that is just extremely generous and wants to help their neighbors,” Gorman said. “When we started T&E Care 15 years ago — almost

16 now — we discovered this community of people that just really believed in helping their neighbors, and the community of people who want to help is growing and growing and growing. It’s just been really staggering how many people are out there wanting to help.” Aside from local foundations, parent organizations have also worked hard to support those in need. Among the parent groups helping to pull together donations is the Chinese American Parent Association of Tredyffrin/Easttown (CAPA-TE), which has contributed over $6,000 via 165 gift cards to Target, Acme, Wawa, Wegmans and CVS Pharmacy to the district for distribution to families. “It’s one Earth, one hope for everybody, so it takes everybody’s efforts to deal with it and to cope with the situation,” said Jianhua Jiang, the chair of CAPA-TE’s Youth Development Committee. “Everybody’s involved. Everybody’s contributing. Everybody has to do something to help those who are in need.” CAPA-TE also offers free tutoring options and food-shopping teams to help reduce pressure on people who are struggling because of the pandemic. TESD

parent and CAPA-TE member Qingfen Zhang, who made a donation through the group, echoes this sentiment. “The coronavirus pandemic we’re facing is unprecedented. I’ve never experienced something like this in my life previously, and because of the lockdown, many families are struggling,” Zhang said. “The money is one thing,

and it may help them a little, but I think it’s a way to show we care and to have solidarity with people in our community who are having a difficult time. It’s a sign to say, you know, ‘we know you’re struggling, and we care.’” In times of hardship, the T/E community has united to provide support to its families. Jeanne Braun, coordinator of communi-

ty and volunteer services for the school district, is amazed at the community’s generosity. “This is very emotional for me. The outpouring and genuine generosity of our community is incredible, as is the gratitude our families feel when others help them,” Braun said. “To have a small role in this is really a privilege.”

Courtesy Shania Lee

Lending a hand: TESD community and volunteer services coordinator Jeanne Braun stands while CAPA-TE board members Deanna Wang and Xiaoyan Han hold the 165 gift cards they collected. Both groups contributed to helping those in need.


2 HOW IT ALL UNFOLDED A brief timeline of the coronavirus pandemic. JAN.



As the number of cases rises to nearly 10,000 around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. FEB.

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WHO reports that the unknown disease, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) virus, is officially given the name COVID-19. The choice is made to fend off other names that might generate stigma. MARCH 6 - FIRST TWO CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS REPORTED IN PA

The first cases in PA are reported in Delaware County and Wayne County, both connected to travel. By March 13, PA cases rise to 41, and according to Johns Hopkins University, worldwide confirmed cases reach 137,445. On the same day, Gov. Wolf announces all PA schools will close for 10 days. MARCH TOP

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2,218 WITH 16 DEATHS

With cases reported across PA, the back to school date is set for April 6. The stayat-home order is implemented in 19 counties, including Chester County. 6.6 million Americans apply for unemployment in the last week of March according to the Labor Department. APRIL



Gov. Wolf announces that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Within a few weeks of the pandemic, almost 10 million Americans are put out of work. APRIL

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Alongside similar protests across the nation, PA residents head to the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg to demand that Gov. Wolf reopen the state’s economy amid social distancing regulations that were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Distance learning: District implements online curriculum Richard Li

News Editor Emeritus Throughout the last two months, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the state government have adjusted education guidelines in light of school closings, allowing schools to fulfill their educational requirements through virtual means. On March 27, two weeks prior to his announcement of the mandatory closure of all K-12 schools in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an emergency school code bill that waived the requirement of 180 instructional school days for the school year. In addition, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera signed an order on April 9 that removed the limit on the number of flexible instruction days, which allow schools to replace traditional classroom instruction with online alternatives when schools are unable to open. The PDE also canceled all state assessments, including PSSAs and Keystones, for the 20192020 school year.

“By taking these actions, the department is providing flexibility in the near term while signaling that core functions of public education can and will continue,” Rivera said in a press release on April 9. In response to the closure of all schools and the new state educational guidelines, the district has implemented a distance learning plan in which students may access instructional materials at any time throughout the day to allow as many students as possible to participate. “Our asynchronous distance learning plan allows teachers to provide meaningful lessons to students with the added flexibility for students to access and complete lessons in their home environment. Every student’s situation is different, and we recognize that,” Conestoga Assistant Principal and Dean of Students Anthony DiLella said. While there is no mandatory live classroom instruction, middle and high school students have the option to participate in office hours which provide live sessions with teachers and other students.

Despite the shift to online education for the rest of the school year, class and grade progression will still proceed based on re-

when we return to face-to-face instruction, teachers will take some extra time to assess exactly where their students are

possible implementation of flexible instruction days in the future, as the Pennsylvania Legislature’s Act 64 of 2019

Richard Li/The SPOKE

Learning from a distance: Microsoft OneNote runs on a district-issued laptop. OneNote is one of the programs that teachers are using to distribute instructional material to students during distance learning. quirements outlined in Cones- in their learning so that their allows flexible instruction needs can best be met,” said days to replace instructional toga’s program of studies. “At this point, we do not Wendy Towle, director of cur- days when schools are unable believe that the distance learn- riculum, instruction, staff de- to open due to other reasons such as inclement weather. ing program will affect either velopment and planning. “Currently, we are exploring Moving forward, the disgrade or class progression. However, we do anticipate that trict is also examining the submitting the required appli-

Senior traditions adapt to social distancing guidelines Devon Rocke Opinion Editor

In previous years, seniors have enjoyed the “senior experience,” a rite of passage involving school traditions, pranks and major milestones. However, this year is a far cry from what most seniors were expecting it to be. In March, COVID-19 began to reach the area, causing an abrupt stop to the 2020 school year, shutting the school down on the 13th, causing many senior traditions to be delayed or canceled. Senior Assassins, while not a school-sponsored event, has come to a close. Every year, participants are assigned targets and must eliminate them by spraying them with water. If the student fails to eliminate their target, they will be unable to move on to the next round. Typically, the game runs until there is one survivor who gets the cash prize. This year, however, Drew Ge, Max Rosenfeld and Dylan Goldstein, the organizers of the game, split the $2,020 reward among the numerous remaining players. Since the statewide shutdown of Pennsylvania schools, seniors have lost even more traditions. Without access to school grounds and students, this year’s senior prank is not happening, and events such as Snow Day in May, a year-end goodbye tailgate for seniors, have been canceled. “The biggest thing we’re

missing out on is a certain vibe to senior spring that is unlike anything else through high school,” said JP Infortuna, president of Executive Council. “I’ll give April as the best month of high school you will have… but the atmosphere of senior spring is something that we’re not getting.” Spring sports have also come to an end, with many seniors not realizing that the

ward to being captain of the track team in the spring,” senior Grace Inserra said. “The spring season is the most important, so that was a bummer having to miss out on that.” Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, some traditions are still being salvaged. College T-shirt Day is now occurring via Instagram, with students posting pictures in their new gear along and tag-

filmed and put together. “It has been hard figuring out how to make it and include everyone,” senior Justin D’Emilio said. “But I’m excited to see what happens.” On May 28, Senior Award Night will be held virtually, and award winners will be notified of how they will be recognized beforehand. As for senior prom, the date has been postponed to July 15 and

Sophia Pan/The SPOKE

Claire Guo/The SPOKE

#allinthistogether: A Conestoga Class of 2020 sign is displayed in a yard. These signs were distributed to seniors to show ’Stoga pride while students are unable to attend school. practice, game or meet before the sudden exit from school was their last. This means missing final goodbyes with their coaches and teammates and being unable to celebrate senior night or one last win. “I was really looking for-

ging their friends to keep the challenge going. The production of the famous senior lip dub is also in progress. To create the lip dub, video segments from athletes, clubs, student council, the arts programs and the pioneer pit are being

will be hosted at the Foundry in Phoenixville if the threat of COVID-19 has passed. Now, for one of the largest milestones for seniors: graduation. On July 21, the school is planning to hold the traditional graduation ceremo-

ny on Teamer Field for the senior class. However, due to COVID-19, these plans are not concrete, meaning that there are three separate options that may be used if regulations do not allow for the tentative commencement plan to occur. One option is a Social Distancing Commencement, in which students as well as guests will maintain social distancing rules and sit six feet apart, with TETV broadcasting the ceremony. A second option is similar to the first and would have students sit six feet apart with no guests. The third option is the most time-consuming, with students walking onto Teamer Field one-by-one to receive their diplomas. A final commencement plan will be announced by July 1. “I feel like getting closure is something that a lot of high school seniors really want right now,” Inserra said. “I think graduation would be a great way to just see everyone one last time.” Although a typical graduation may not be happening, there are different ways that the community is supporting the Class of 2020. Signs celebrating the class are propped up in yards across the area, and there will be a Thanksgiving weekend reception in the fall so that students can say their final goodbyes to their friends. So, even though the “senior experience” has been cut short, seniors still have traditions that are being upheld virtually and, hopefully, soon in person.

cation to PDE to take advantage of the flexible instructional days opportunity. If we believe it is a good option, given what we now know about distance learning in T/E, we will present the idea to the Education Committee before the end of this year,” Towle said. As T/E continues to provide instruction for students, Towle is glad to see how the school community has bonded despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. “This is an unprecedented situation – one that many of us could have never imagined only a few months ago. Even though I know we would all prefer to be meeting face-toface, it is remarkable how our students, our parents and our staff have worked together to support one another and to make distance learning a valuable experience. The care and concern for one another that has been exhibited throughout our school community is just another reason I am T/E Proud.”

Senior Signs Aimee Buttenbaum

Co-T/E Life Editor Emeritus With the increasing length of quarantine and schools in Pennsylvania being closed for the remainder of the school year, senior events such as college T-shirt day have been cancelled, as well as the beloved Snow Day in May. While everyone is ordered to stay at home, seniors are losing time to be with their classmates for the last few weeks before they move on to the next stage of their lives. Things they have looked forward to for the last four years are suddenly being cancelled, such as the Senior Internship Program, a month where students get the chance to work in a field of their interest. Although things have not worked out the way they were planned, everyone is still trying to show their ’Stoga pride. Senior class mom Tracey Prestipino sent an email out to all of the senior parents midApril, offering up signs that they could purchase to stick in their lawns, letting everyone who drives by know that they have a senior in their house. These signs can be seen scattered across the Tredyffrin/ Easttown township, spreading ’Stoga pride during these strange times. “All of the neighbors get to support their seniors going away while still giving everyone space,” senior Gabriela Calvitti said. “It’s a great way to see the community coming together even when we can’t actually be in school.”

College Board revises Advanced Placement exams Evan Lu

Webmaster Every spring, the educational organization College Board administers Advanced Placement (AP) exams to students across the nation. Since their introduction in 1952, the exams have become increasingly commonplace at high schools and are used to qualify students for college credit. For the first time in their history, the 2020 AP exams were 45 minutes each and held online due to conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Advanced Placement program was originally designed to introduce high school students to college-level curricula. The AP exams, used to assess one’s mastery of the AP material, are scored on a scale from one to five and are usually two to three hours long. Testing at Conestoga is monitored by school counselor and co-AP Coordinator Megan Smyth, who helps manage the ordering, reception, distribution, administration and return of AP exam materials. Traditionally, “although each exam looks slightly different based on the course and specific subject material, AP exams may include multiple choice questions, free-response questions and verbal response questions. Additionally, the exams are typically administered in school at various locations throughout the building,” Smyth said. Unlike in previous years, the spring 2020 exams were

each 45 minutes long and completely online. The exams ran from May 11 to May 22. Additionally, the exams were open note, consisting only of free response questions and verbal response questions and only evaluated students on topics and skills that most schools had already covered by early March. The new changes were accompanied by varying concerns from students and teachers. Sophomore Mike Bagby, who takes AP U.S. History and AP Calculus AB, was skeptical that the new AP U.S. History test would be a valid measure of a student’s proficiency in the subject. “The (AP U.S. History exam) will only be one Document-Based Question (DBQ) as opposed to a DBQ and multiple choice. We spend so much time studying and going in depth about all these topics just to have (the test) cut down to just one DBQ,” Bagby said. “It’s not ideal. Tthe test may not be an accurate indicator of who learned the most and who understands the entire course as a whole: it’ll rather be who understands one topic the most.” The changes in format also forced students to adjust their preparation strategies for the exams. “We’ve definitely been focusing more specifically on essay- and DBQ-writing (since) that’s a skill we’re definitely going to need to know,” Bagby said. As students adapted their preparation tactics, teachers also had to remodel their

teaching methods to the new exams. Since the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam was modified to only include the verbal-response speaking sections, AP Spanish 4/5 teacher and World Language

me to listen to rather than hearing them live in class,” Karcewski said. Similarly, AP Environmental Science teacher Tim Ligget responded to the changes to the AP Environmental Sci-

Evan Lu/The SPOKE

A different look: An AP Bulletin rests on a table. College Board administered the Advanced Placement exams online this year to accommodate school closings. Department Co-Chair Ann Karcewski emphasized the speaking element of the course. “What I’m having to do is upload simulated conversations or cultural comparison prompts. Then (my students) upload their recordings for

ence exam, which consisted of two essay prompts. “We’re having students write their own review book by looking at two units at a time. Then they have to write a three- or four-page review summary on what they’ve

learned about those two units. We’re also doing some practice essays,” Ligget said. Still, some teachers worried that students would find it harder to adjust to the sudden changes and that the changes would unfairly hurt or benefit some students. “The (speaking sections) are the only two sections the kids are going to do, and that’s probably the hardest for them. Each student always has strengths and weaknesses, and certain kids that don’t speak so well would definitely be at a disadvantage,” Karcewski said. Nevertheless, many teachers remained optimistic about this year’s tests. The average score for Conestoga’s AP test takers is consistently higher than the nationwide average, and despite the high standards, teachers believe that their students have what it takes succeed. “I have kids this year that are very strong speakers, and a lot of them speak very naturally and have a good vocabulary and grammar base. I’m confident that a lot of them will do well with the speaking. Even though it’s the hardest part of the test, a lot of them can really bring it when they need to,” Karcewski said. Ligget was also confident in the strength and determination of his students. “One of the things that everybody is learning during this time is being resilient and being able to make changes to solve problems,” Ligget said. “I feel very good that our students will be able to do that.”


Tuesday, May 26, 2020


After 19 years, beloved Spoke adviser leaves Claire Guo and Audrey Kim Co-Editors-in-Chief Emeriti

Although Class of 2011 alumna Meghan Morris said that she couldn’t remember exactly when she decided she wanted to become a journalist, she attributes much of that decision to the support of English teacher and The Spoke’s co-adviser Susan Gregory. “She really helped students find their own strengths. Through the assignments and the leadership opportunities she gives, she helps students find themselves individually, apart from what their parents or their guidance counselors may think of them,” said Morris, who now works at the news website Business Insider. “Knowing alumni on The Spoke, it’s really cool to see how they’ve integrated what they’ve learned into what they’re doing today or even become journalists outright like myself. I think we owe that to a lot of her leadership.” Though she will continue teaching at Conestoga, English teacher Susan Gregory is leaving her position as co-adviser to The Spoke after 19 years. During her time there, Gregory helped hundreds of student journalists through 133 issues, revising articles and counseling the editorial staff. Gregory herself was co-editorin-chief of her high school paper and knew early on that she loved writing. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State University, Gregory worked as a broadcast journalist — reporter, anchor and producer — for 13 years. “I am a person who likes schedules and deadlines. I’m very fitted for broadcast journalism because every 15 minutes, there’s a deadline,” Gregory said. “In 15 minutes, I need to have this story rewritten. In 15 minutes, I need to have the script to the director. I feel I really thrived in that deadline environment.”

Gregory spent three years at NBC affiliate WMGM and 10 years at ABC affiliate WNEP. As a reporter, anchor and producer, Gregory attended news conferences with well-known figures like The Rolling Stones, Jerry Seinfeld and then real estate mogul Donald Trump. She reported live from WNEP’s helicopter and once covered country singer Garth Brooks’ concert in Central Park, reporting about 35 live shots to ABC affiliate stations across the country in the span of a few hours. “It was fun to be in my early ’20s in that type of atmosphere,” Gregory said. By the late ’90s, Gregory felt that her job as a TV anchor no longer felt like the right fit. Gregory remembers her mother suggesting she go back to school and become a teacher. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the University of Scranton, Gregory spent her days taking classes and her nights anchoring at the news station. In 2000, Gregory started at her first teaching position at Conestoga, where she became co-adviser to The Spoke the next year. “It’s extremely humbling. I went from sitting at an anchor desk and people recognizing me on the street to being in front of a classroom with students whose eyes were closing,” Gregory said. “It was very humbling, but in a good way. Just being able to interact with people instead of staring at a teleprompter is very humanizing.” Since Gregory has been co-adviser for The Spoke, the school newspaper has regularly received national and state recognitions from scholastic journalism organizations. Gregory said that one of her proudest moments occurred at the National Scholastic Journalism convention in 2009, where The Spoke received first place in the news story, feature story and

Susan Gregory/The SPOKE

Spoke cheer: (from left to right) Spoke co-adviser Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt, former Spoke editors Caleigh Sturgeon ’17, Matt Paolizzi ’17, Jordan Liu ’16, Ian Ong ’16 and retiring co-adviser Susan Gregory celebrate winning the 2016 Journalism Education Association Quiz Bowl in Indianapolis. After 19 years, Gregory is retiring from her position as Spoke co-adviser after mentoring hundreds of students in journalism.

multimedia package categories, and editors Henry Rome and Seth Zweifler received the SPLC Courage in Student Journalism Award. “Having never been an athlete or on a sports team, I never experienced what it’s like to collectively win something. I remember sitting there and saying to my students, ‘I feel like I just won the World Series.’ The euphoria from experiencing that with all those students and sharing in their success was something I’ve never felt before,” Gregory said. Seth Zweifler, editor-in-chief of The Spoke in the 2009-2010 school year, said it was difficult to imagine The Spoke without Gregory. The lessons she taught him have stuck with him, beyond the award-winning articles he wrote for The Spoke. “She of course helped to teach me the mechanics of reporting. But she also helped me learn about the intangibles of good journalism: the importance of unwavering ethics. How to function well as a team, as a newsroom. How to have empathy for your sources and imagine yourself in their shoes,” Zweifler said. “She was and is a fierce and effective advocate for a free and independent student voice.” Gregory’s co-adviser Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt said that since joining as The Spoke’s co-adviser in 2006, she has valued Gregory’s friendship and contributions to The Spoke as a whole. “After 15 years of working so closely together with another human being, we have become what I think is the perfect team,” Crothers-Hyatt said. “We build each other up, we play on each other’s strengths.” Gregory said that she values her time on The Spoke for the impact that it’s had on her students. “Advising the Spoke is probably the most significant thing I’ve done in my life,” Gregory said. “To think about all the students who have been a part of the publication and to hear them tell me years later how they’ve taken what they learned in student journalism and applied it to their professional lives is inspiring.” When she first came to ‘Stoga, one of Gregory’s freshman classes couldn’t understand why she left television. When reflecting on leaving television and leaving Spoke years later, Gregory felt confident in her decisions. “I think change is good. Change opens up opportunities to other people, too. My leaving is opening up opportunities for other new ideas and experiences,” Gregory said. “I am eager to see how I might fill my Spoke time, but I will always be a Spoke cheerleader forever.”

Courtesy Michael and Erin Shine

Curbside campout: Local bakery Nothing Bundt Cakes owned by Conestoga parents Erin and Michael Shine remains open during the pandemic. Like many local restaurants, the cake shop created a contact-free curbside and delivery service.

Small businesses face challenges because of COVID-19 pandemic Tiffany He

Co-Managing Editor Emeritus Conestoga parents Michael and Erin Shine operate Nothing Bundt Cakes, a cake shop in the Gateway Shopping Center. According to Erin Shine, the bakery has experienced a decline in sales, which she attributes to the decrease in group celebrations like birthdays and weddings due to social distancing regulations. To remain open, they have created a contact-free, curbside and reduced price delivery service and have taken additional safety precautions to protect their customers and employees. “We follow strict sanitizing and disinfecting procedures. Everyone wears a mask and gloves, and all orders are contact free curbside or delivery,” Erin Shine said. Faced with social distancing restrictions, local businesses that depend on foot-traffic and in-person interaction with their customers have been particularly hurt by COVID-19. On March 17, Gov. Tom Wolf expanded mitigation efforts, ordering all non-essential businesses to close and for

restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities. Even so, many local businesses like Nothing Bundt Cakes have found ways to stay open by offering delivery, pick-up and other services to continue to serve the community. Nonessential businesses that have been forced to temporarily close have also found ways to modify their business models. Ted Straub is the owner of Tranquil Tai Chi & Qigong. Prior to state closures, Straub primarily taught one-to-one lessons with his students from his home studio. Now he has transitioned to virtual lessons over the online video conference platform Zoom. “The nature of private ‘hands-on’ lessons is the direct feedback and the ability to view a movement art such as Tai Chi up close. I have had to adapt lesson content to better suit the medium of virtual learning,” Straub said. “It is limited in many ways, but the students welcome the opportunity to continue to grow, with many of them expressing gratitude for having an activity to break the boredom of

isolation. In this regard, I sincerely believe that the practice has been equal parts mental health as physical exercise.” However, with these changes in operations, businesses are still facing reduced sales and income. While some have received financial assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to keep workers employed, and other state funds, they do not apply to all businesses. Straub, who is the sole employee of Tranquil Tai Chi & Qigong and doesn’t qualify as unemployed, has not received financial aid. “Unfortunately, the only way to restore my income to pre-pandemic levels is for the governor to lift the restrictions on my type of business,” Straub said. Fortunately, many local businesses have received large showings of support from the T/E community. “We have regular customers who are ordering to support us and giving bundt to friends and families. We have had several customers have never purchased from us in the past and ordered because they wanted

to support local businesses. We’ve also had guests say they have heard about our charitable donations and wanted to support the business. It has been amazing to see how the T/E community supports local businesses, and we are very grateful,” Erin Shine said. Gov. Wolf recently presented a detailed plan for reopening the state with a targeted May 8 starting date. According to the plan, the administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow and green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region based on a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University. “I think all businesses are concerned about the short and long term consequences of the quarantine and subsequent restart. But the most important thing is to get through the pandemic with as few hospitalizations and deaths as possible,” Shine said. “We are confident the township and broader community will get through this together and are confident that business will be back to normal at the appropriate time.”

Student Services staff explain emotional impact of quarantine Kate Phillips Staff Reporter

During this pandemic, it is important for Conestoga students to be aware of their mental health and how it may be impacted by self-isolation and the threat of COVID-19. Counselor Katherine Barthelmeh and mental health specialist Joellen Corrocher explain the effects this pandemic can have on mental health. “It is important to recognize the fact that isolation can lead to a variety of emotional responses, including extreme boredom and/or stress,” Barthelmeh says. “As a society, and of course as a school, our whole way of functioning was disrupted and required a significant change in how we were living and functioning day to day.” When faced with so much time alone at home, it may seem impossible to fill every hour of every day with something entertaining and occupying. Barthelmeh and Corrocher recommend that students try journaling, connecting online with friends and family, exercising, spending time outdoors, or pursuing

a hobby. They also recommend planning a routine. Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize that we are fortunate to have many platforms that work toward helping people with mental health disorders, especially anxiety and depression. On the district website, there is information for the Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Valley Creek Crisis Intervention, Consumer-Run Warm Line and the Chester County Mental Health Resource Guide. The Valley Creek Crisis Intervention line offers a crisis program for children, adolescents and adults and is free to use for anyone who lives in Chester County. Teachers and students in the district have kept the community connected and entertained through Good Morning Stoga, student council activities, library contests, Schoology videos and even office hours that give students a chance to talk with their teachers almost as they would in class. Barthelmeh recognizes the connection social media platforms such as TikTok and FaceTime provide for students who will

not see each other in person for several months. The teachers have also shown extreme flexibility, organization and care through their complete switch from classrooms to virtual settings. “I’m really happy that the library and student council are doing activities… It’s nice to have some connection with my classmates, even if it’s a small one,” freshman Ariana Tanha said. Social media and mental health have always been linked, but even more so during the pandemic. Corrocher explains some negative effects of social media during the pandemic. “Dramatic and inaccurate news reports on social media are certainly a concern, and could contribute to additional distress in a time when stress is already so heightened for so many,” Corrocher said. Corrocher also explains that because students no longer have to get up early, they feel more free to spend time on social media late at night. The blue light from cell phone screens, plus the hours students are spending online, are key factors to a disrupted sleep schedule.

“In my experience, highly disrupted sleep patterns are a risk factor for good mental and physical health and concentration,” Corrocher said. However, Corrocher also recognizes that social media can promote “healthy messages” and can help students feel connected, things that are both important during the pandemic. In any time of uncertainty, it is important to look for a silver lining. Barthelmeh also recognizes some of the more positive effects self-isolation can have. “Right now the overall emotional impact of COVID-19 is unknown and is still unfolding; for some students this time has led them to have extra time to sleep, a decrease in academic and peer related stress, a time to connect with their families and slow down,” Barthelmeh says. While we are all united under this crisis, there are billions of people on this Earth, and each one of them is experiencing new, uncertain and widely varied emotions at this time. The best we can do is support each other, take care of ourselves and try to smile.

Courtesy Katherina Barthelmeh

Keeping your head up: Counselor Katherine Barthelmeh works to help students with their mental health at home. Barthelmeh recommends that students try to keep a routine and stay connected with friends and family.

T/E LIFE Aditi Dahagam

Co-Web Content Manager Because of the coronavirus pandemic, clubs have adapted to the school closure by using video call meetings in order to continue with projects and events. As many of Key Club’s community service events were canceled or went virtual, board members created new opportunities for members to help. Senior and co-chair of major charities Alexis Malamas explained that the club is sending thank you emails to teachers for their efforts in the transition from classroom to virtual learning. “Teachers are doing so much for students during this difficult time, so I wanted a way to give back to teachers as well as an opportunity for Key Club members to get hours,” Malamas said. Key Club also uses Microsoft Teams to update members about service opportunities. Senior and club president Emily Ford hopes to find safer ways to continue to volunteer so that club members will be able to help during the pandemic. “We stuck to safe activities like online tutoring, sharing videos of members reading a book or helping the community by cleaning up trash,” Ford said. “Our members have a passion for volunteering and being stuck at home will not stop us from helping others.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sophomore president Liz Zhang is creating structure in her club for aspiring medical students by raising funds to attend future competitions and holding executive board elections. HOSA plans to get involved in helping those fighting COVID-19. Many organizations that the club has looked into aiding require monetary or equipment donations, which some members might not have, so Zhang plans to write cards to healthcare workers. “I think that showing gratitude towards (healthcare workers) who are sacrificing their lives to keep everyone safe is just something we can all easily do to helpbrighten up their day.” Zhang said. Brighten A Day Club aims to cheer up children at hospitals and seniors at nursing homes by sending them cards. Sophomore and club president Hita Gupta is encouraging members to make cards and planning activities through Microsoft Teams. “We can do video calls so even if we’re not close to each other, we can see each other’s faces. Then again, there’s nothing like face to face interaction,” Gupta said. The Computer Science Club discusses members’ personal projects and gives presentations on new topics. Co-president Eric Zhao believes there are pros and cons to video call meetings.

“Screen sharing works well enough, but sometimes it’s better to get an in person demo when another member is showing us something cool that they developed in their free time,” Zhao said. “But it’s actually easier to get people’s attention. You don’t have to shout across the room when you’re doing a group activity.” Even though there were less people who showed up to the first virtual meeting than school meetings, Zhao explains that the people who were present were attentive and engaged. “These clubs are formed to group people who have common interests and get them into doing things together. Even though we’re not meeting in person, I think it’s important to do this especially since when we will be back in school, those clubs will continue as normal,” Zhao said. Furthermore, Computer Science Club is holding their annual Codefest from April 22 to June 1. Students can work individually or in teams of up to four to code any project. Zhao believes that Codefest will provide students the opportunity to experience coding in a real-life scenario . “We want people to do group projects because in the real computer science world, everything is in teams or collaboration,” Zhao said. “We’re hoping that with more time on their hands, people will code more.”


Virtual communication: Sophomore Liz Zhang uses Zoom to conduct HOSA Club meetings. While Zhang has been enjoying experimenting with technology features like screen sharing, she still misses face-to-face meetings.

How adviser Megan Doyle completed the 2020 yearbook Claire Guo

Co-Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Courtesy Megan Doyle

Making adjustments: Megan Doyle is the adviser for the yearbook club. Doyle included pages related to social distancing in the 2020 yearbook.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s disruption to school life, all Conestoga students will still be able to buy a 2020 yearbook. That’s thanks to yearbook adviser Megan Doyle, who returned to Conestoga after school closures to finish the book and send it off to the printer. In Doyle’s previous 20 years of advising, rainy weather was the biggest obstacle to finishing the book, sometimes delaying spring sports and disrupting the yearbook’s schedule. This year, however, that was not the case. “Going into this spring, I kept saying how we were in such good shape because we hadn’t had any snow days, everybody was really good with deadlines. And then it was like kaboom, everything exploded,” Doyle said. When T/E abruptly closed all schools starting Friday, March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the yearbook had about 20 unfinished spreads — 20 pairs of side-by-side pages —

some blank, some in progress. Three weeks later, Doyle returned to school, describing “surreal” circumstances: school parking lots roped off with police tape, hand sanitizer stations and empty hallways. After spending all-day for two days working in the yearbook room, Doyle finally finished. Doyle spent the two days fixing a variety of “odds and ends” — a missing article here, a pull quote there. Many pages needed updating or completely new content due to the pandemic’s drastic effect on school life. “Somebody says they’re looking forward to the freshmen class trip to Hershey Park— we need to say that that’s not going to happen now. It was sort of a surprise with every page I opened what needed to be done,” Doyle said. The 2020 yearbook will also include content related to social distancing and staying at home. By reaching out to staff and students, Doyle created one spread focused on how faculty responded to the pandemic and another on the student response. “I emailed all the teachers one

day and said, ‘How do you feel about distance learning? How have you kind of maintained your semblance of regular life?’ and the faculty response was incredible. So many people got back to me and sent pictures,” Doyle said. Since the yearbook and the applications needed to create it are all on the local computers in the yearbook room, the staff was unable to finish it from home. Next year, Doyle is considering switching to an online cloud program so the yearbook staff can work from home if need be. Although, the coronavirus pandemic continues to overhaul normal life, Doyle hopes that the 2020 yearbook can help seniors reclaim part of their final year. “I kept thinking about the seniors and how difficult and strange and upsetting this year must be, because there’ll be things that you look forward to and you’re not going to have a lot of those things that you had planned on,” Doyle said. “The least that we can do is get you the book that you hoped you would have and see everybody in there.”

Sophomore sews her way through quarantine Katherine Lee

Co-T/E Life Editor

Several students have been taking advantage of the extra time in quarantine to explore their hobbies. Sophomore Rebecca Levin, for instance, has been reconnecting with her love for sewing by making and selling hair scarves. Levin sat down at her sewing machine a few weeks ago, inspired by a picture of a hair scarf from her friend to try making them herself. “My friend made one and sent me a picture. I really liked it, and I wear them all the time, so I decided to make them, and from then on, I just didn’t stop,” Levin said. Courtesy Rebecca Levin

Super sewing: Sophomore Rebecca Levin sits at her sewing machine, creating hair scarves from fabric squares. Levin has been spending her time in quarantine making and selling products.

For about five hours every day, Levin sews hair scarves in her basement with fabric from JoAnn Fabric and Craft store. With the leftover scraps, she makes scrunchies by hand and sells them two for five dollars. The completed hair scarves, sold for five dollars each, are dropped off at the purchaser’s mailbox, and for out-of-state purchases, delivered through the mail. Levin first learned to sew in sixth grade for her Self-Directed Learning (SDL) school project. Although her sewing machine had been relatively inactive over the past few years since then, she has recently started it back up. “My dad first bought a sew-

ing machine a couple years ago, and I did my SDL in sixth grade on sewing. I never really sewed since then, other than a class I had in eighth grade. But when my friend sent me a picture (of her hair scarf), I decided to hop on the sewing machine because I had all the time,” Levin said. “I just started really enjoying it because it took my mind off things.” While at the moment Levin is focusing mainly on hair scarves, she is experimenting with other hair products she could sew and maybe sell. In the future, Levin hopes to start an account on Etsy, a website where users can sell handmade items and craft supplies.

“If I get a lot of sales, I could start (an Etsy). But right now, I’m just selling them to friends, so I don’t know exactly where this is going to lead me,” Levin said. Levin encourages others to make use of this time to pursue new interests or start doing things that there wasn’t time for before. “If you see something that you enjoy, just start doing it now because this is a great opportunity to do things that you haven’t done. You have all the time now and there’s no excuse for not having the time,” Levin said. “I didn’t have the time before to do any of this, but now, I have all the free time in the world. So I just sit down and enjoy sewing.”

T/E Life

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Alumni impacted by pandemic Mira Harris Staff Reporter

Victoria Budike

- Class of 2019, Northeastern University

Courtesy Victoria Budike

Victoria Budike spends time outside with her dog during the quarantine.

Hyunjin Lee/The Spoke

Shopping frenzy: Customers wait in line at Costco during the quarantine with loaded shopping carts. As a result of the global pandemic, shoppers have been purchasing more than what they need — a practice known as stockpiling.

Consumer shopping experience altered by the coronavirus Hyunjin Lee

Co-Editor-in-Chief Empty shelves, long lines and backordered items have been frequently greeting shoppers during the quarantine. Many also wear masks and are required to stand at “social distanced” spots in lines. At some stores, gloves and sanitizing wipes are provided. These are just some of the changes shoppers had to adapt to in light of the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued all nonlife sustaining businesses to close their physical locations. As a result, consumers and business owners alike have had to alter the way they shop and market products. While several local restaurants have shut down temporarily, such as the Malvern Buttery, Hakata Ramen and Wayne First Watch, some have chosen to transition to online deliveries or launch curbside pickups. “We haven’t had an online store for years, so I had to get creative and figure out a way to have curbside,” said Kimberly Davis Cuthbert, the owner and pastry chef of Sweet Jazmines bakery. People are able to order from the Sweet Jazmines online store menu, which includes the bakery’s most popular bake-at-home sweet potato muffin batter. They are then assigned randomly set and staggered pickup times. Sweet Jazmines leaves the orders on a table and people get out of their cars to pick them up. While curbside pickups are available for several stores, some people are still choosing to visit

physical stores for groceries, but with an abundance of precaution. “We make sure to have towels laid out in the back before going out, and my parents bring masks, gloves and hand sanitizers,” junior Nusayba Chowdhury said. “My parents also plan out the stores so that we only have to go to one store for all the groceries.” Chowdhury’s parents also practice safe social distancing and precaution while in the stores by staying six feet apart, coming back to crowded aisles and making sure to only touch items they will buy.

Villanova University Associate Chair for Marketing and Business Law, the Terror Management Theory might explain the sudden shifts in consumer behavior since the beginning of the quarantine and pandemic. Terror Management Theory is a social psychology theory that states that a psychological conflict results from having a self-preservation instinct while at the same time realizing death is inevitable and unpredictable. “When we feel like our mortality is salient, we can react in two ways: one of which is trying to re-

in demand. “My parents now buy everything online, mostly through Amazon and Whole Foods,” junior Gordon Hu said. “We tried to order tofu, but it never came, and a lot of stuff is out of stock, so it just doesn't come.” Hu said it is also more difficult to order and get foods he would normally eat for his vegan diet. The shortages for certain food items, especially those necessary for baking, may be explained by consumers’ desire for structure. “The required specificity of baking can be demanding but it appears that consumers are finding relief in that kind of structure as all of our other structures have decimated,” Bennett said. “Baking might be a way to reinsert some sort of structure into our experiences and that may be why certain supplies are so hard to find.” In the big picture of consumer shopping habits, Bennett believes that the pandemic will have differential impacts across the different generations. “The Baby Boomers, Gen X and even some Millennials have firmly established shopping behaviors as they have been shopping for decades now and can understand how the current situation relates to all the other experiences they have had and how it might revert in the future,” Bennet said. “But for Gen Z, who are still in their formative years and forming their world views, this will leave an indelible mark on their schema for how shopping looks.”

We make sure to have towels laid out in the back before going out, and my parents bring masks, gloves and hand sanitizers." “My parents also make me and my brother stay upstairs when they bring in all the groceries, and they make sure to wash all the produce and wipe down all the items and boxes with Clorox wipes,” Chowdhury said. “And then I can only come back downstairs after my parents have all taken showers.” Other aspects of shopping during quarantine have changed as well. “We buy everything in bulk now and we no longer visit a variety of stores,” Chowdhury said. “We are also buying a lot more in general, especially canned goods, and because we don’t go to the Indian market as much, we have been eating more American meals too.” According to Aronte Bennett,

assure ourselves, which often happens through material acquisitions and material comforts,” Bennett said. “In the context of the current pandemic, there is a daily reminder of our mortality.” Stockpiling, the act of purchasing more than what we need to save for future use, has also become quite common, with shoppers trying to buy enormous quantities of bathroom supplies, disinfectants and baking items for example. Shortages are also common on online market platforms, which have become more popular during the quarantine. Shoppers often find items backordered or sold-out as e-market providers like Amazon try to meet the unprecedented rise

Alex Dyer

- Class of 2018, Marquette University

Courtesy Alex Dyer

Alex Dyer gets treated at the Mater University Hospital in Dublin after contracting the coronavirus.

GriffinHamilton-Class of 2017, United States Naval Academy

Courtesy Griffin Hamilton

Griffin Hamilton is a junior at the United States Naval academy.

Northeastern University freshman and Conestoga Class of 2019 alumna Victoria Budike was shocked when her first college rowing season was cut short due to COVID-19. After seven and a half months of training, her coaches made the difficult decision, under an advisory from the Colonial Athletic Association, to end the season. “I was really upset because the seven months of training that I had been doing was to be fast in the spring, and then it was all over,” Budike said. Usually, college rowers are only allowed to row for four years, but because Northeastern is a five-year institution, she was granted another year of eligibility to row. This is bittersweet for Budike, whose full-ride scholarship may be extended for another year. On the other hand, she will have no more spring racing experience than the incoming freshmen. “Now that our spring season was canceled, I am going to basically be on the same level as all of the freshman rowers. We’re going to be seniors on the team together,” Budike said. The most important thing she has learned during this pandemic is to treat every day like it’s special. “I learned that you have to live in the moment and be present. You have to treat every day like it’s the last day you’re going to be in that boat with your teammates,” Budike said.

Class of 2018 alumnus Alex Dyer’s sophomore semester of studying abroad was abruptly cut short when he contracted COVID-19. At the start of his semester, Dyer spent weekdays studying marketing at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid and exploring Europe on the weekends. Although parts of the continent were starting to shut down, on March 11, Dyer and his friends decided to go ahead with plans to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. They arrived on a Wednesday night, and by Saturday, he developed a fever. At the Mater University Hospital in Dublin, he was told that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and needed to be quarantined for two weeks. Dyer believes he contracted the virus from a friend he was studying with in Spain. “Other than nurses who came in every few hours to give me food and check my vitals, I was alone the whole time,” Dyer said, “Every time they came in, they put on a full outfit with pants and a mask and goggles, it was kind of bizarre.” He passed the time by doing schoolwork, watching Netflix and working out on the floor of his room. To make the time go by faster, he slept as much as possible. Other than cold-like symptoms for the first two days, Dyer felt completely healthy for the rest of the time he was quarantined. When the two weeks ended, he got on the first flight back to the United States.

Griffin Hamilton, a junior at the United States Naval academy, was on spring break with his crew team in Gainesville, Georgia when he found out that classes had ended due to COVID-19. Hamilton has not returned to school since mid-March, and Navy summer training has been postponed. “This is the longest time I’ve been home since I started school at Navy,” Hamilton said. He is most disappointed about missing out on rowing with his senior teammates this spring. After graduation from the Naval Academy, seniors are sent to serve as officers in the Navy for five years. “A lot of the seniors on the team are some of my best friends, and not getting to see them race is kind of heartbreaking,” Hamilton said. While he has been quarantined, Hamilton has been trying to keep a routine and work out every day. For him, the best part about being at home has been spending time with his family. Through the pandemic, Hamilton has learned to not take for granted being able to spend time with his friends. “Personal relations with other people are something I value a lot and I will definitely make that a priority once I can again,” Hamilton said.

Adapting to change: Teachers make a difference at home in light of pandemic Umar Samdani Co-T/E Life Editor

The coronavirus pandemic has forced teachers to continue to experiment with new technologies as they try to give information in the best way possible. Nevertheless, teachers are facing technological and practical challenges that make it difficult to do so. On March 12, Gov. Wolf announced that all Montgomery County schools would be closed for the following two weeks. As

the situation progressed, it became evident that the school needed to switch to an online learning platform in order to continue instruction. Despite the warning, teachers were still struggling to adjust to the new schedule that distance learning required. Spanish teacher Ann Karcewski found little time away from her computer during the initial days. “I was basically chained to my computer from 7 in the morning to dinner time. It was a lot

to learn, and I was very overwhelmed because I didn’t know how to use a lot of the digital apps,” Karcewski said. One challenge that teachers face with distance learning is the inability to quickly assess whether their students understand information. Kristi DiRico, who teaches Algebra II and Honors Calculus, is especially worried about this obstacle. “Math is different because you can’t just express your ideas, you need to know how to come to the right answer,” DiRico said. “When

Courtesy Ann Karcewski

Making adjustments: Spanish teacher Ann Karcewski prepares to create materials for her students. Karcewski changed her work schedule once the school switched to Distance Learning.

I’m in a classroom, I’m constantly trying to read my audience and tell if they are with me or not. It’s really that visual feedback that I miss in trying to create instructional materials.” One solution to this challenge is the office hours that teachers are offering. During office hours, teachers can set up conference meetings through Schoology or Microsoft Teams. Teachers are continuing to find ways to make office hours more efficient. For example, DiRico uses the snip application to display homework problems. If the student asks for another problem, DiRico can use the snipping tool again to display another problem in a matter of seconds. Karcewski, though, finds another purpose in Office Hours.

“I find that a lot of kids just want to come on in and chat and socialize, and that’s nice too. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them and it’s nice to hear their voices. (Office hours) really add another layer of connection,” Karcewski said. Although distance learning presents challenges, there are some silver linings. Teachers are now required to learn new video-editing technologies. They can also experiment with new resources they may not have the time to use in a traditional classroom setting. Karcewski also sees another positive outcome from distance learning. “I would have never taken the time to learn screencasting and put my face on a PowerPoint. There’s so many things that we can do with WeVideo,”

Karcewski said. “But also, verifying grades is much more efficient. Before, it would be a lot of paperwork but now it’s on a spreadsheet and all automated.” Above all, teachers miss interacting with their students. The transition from a fast-paced, interactive classroom to a more sedentary and isolated one has been hard for many teachers, including DiRico. “What I definitely miss is the people part of the job. I can still do the content part, but I really miss both my students and my colleagues,” DiRico said. Karcewski has similar misgivings and misses speaking to her students in Spanish. “Especially in the language department, we no longer have that in-the-moment practice conversa-

tion with our students and giving them feedback immediately. It’s much better when we can see their faces and help them learn in the moment,” Karcewski. One piece of advice both teachers gave was to keep on moving forward and trying to learn. Both teachers agreed that the more effort they put in now, the more prepared they will be for the next year. Karcewski wanted her students to understand how flexible the teachers are when it comes to coursework. “We’re really thoughtful in what we give out to students. It’s never just for busy work, but rather to reinforce something that would be helpful to the student,” Karcewski said. “So my advice would just be to stay engaged and not let go of school.”

T/E Life


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Senior Destinations west california




midwest illinois



INDIANA UNIVERSITY Tej Bellam, Sophia Bolton, Kayla Stamatas PURDUE UNIVERSITY Bobby Albertson, Erin Oh UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME Mick Lee, Connor Loftus




MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY Sarah Arvan UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Vivaan Mahtab, Neil Muglurmath, Prasiddha Parthsarthy, Ava Webster




WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS Lara Briggs, Sam Haines, Percy Kaylor






south alabama

AUBURN UNIVERSITY Connor Greenberg UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA Morgan Butler, Sarah McHugh, Danielle Schultze, Hayden Sudall


south carolina

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY Quinn Kathol, Katie Mullin, Justin Roach, Chase Wurth COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON Chris Civitella, Andrew Ward UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA Faith Albertson, John Atwood, Mikayla Baker, Styer, Cameron Trites, Matthew Walton







TULANE UNIVERSITY Louise Brunel, Emma Clarke, Jack Mohr, Delia O’Brien

north carolina DAVIDSON COLLEGE Annie Hirshman DUKE UNIVERSITY Emily Ford EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY Xavier Rice ELON UNIVERSITY Claire Hess, Ellie Hyson, Owen Lewis, David Neubig NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY Vanessa Schaefer UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA Maria Borrowman WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY Grace Durham, Jessica Niemeyer, Justin Vinca


COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY Sherry Chen, Katie Ridder JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY Avery Emerson, Elizabeth Kraut, Cate Mayo, Patrick O’Mara, Shelby Speicher UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND Aimee Buttenbaum, Paige Deasy, Brendan Murphy, Miles Whitaker UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Graham Bucko, Laura Ray, Meghan Wolfe VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY Kat Reindel VIRGINIA TECH Jack Collett, Catherine Steven Stepelevich WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY Mitchell Benjamin, Jenni Ealer,

BLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY O BRYN MAWR COLLEGE Zoe B BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY Brist end, Peter Rhatican, Drew R CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERS DICKINSON COLLEGE Sophia DREXEL UNIVERSITY Mehmo Monisha Gupta, Esta Jacob Stuber, Natalia Weglicka, EASTERN UNIVERSITY ELIZABETHTOWN COLLEGE N GETTYSBURG COLLEGE Cath Nikolic, Allison Yuan HAVERFORD COLLEGE KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY Sara LA SALLE UNIVERSITY Caitli LEHIGH UNIVERSITY Henry D near, Autumn Hill, Jake Hun Bobby Wynn, NEUMANN UNIVERSITY Deav PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVE McHalea Beck, Ainslee Benn Drew Borrelli, Lea Bossan, O Condiles, Antonio DiAddezi Gould, Alex Gurski, Alexa Hy Ishau Jiang, Ryan Jones, G Sydney Linn, Justin Magrow Merrill, Nicolette Papadopou Jane Roach, Amal Ronak, D Shine, Connor Steele, Grace Verrelli, Maha Vijayakrishna Rebecca Yan, Chloe Ziegler




Juliet Gottlieb, Rachel He, Jack Hyams, Audrey Kim , Justin Lebeau, Elisa Ponte, Olivia Snyder, Stewart Stright



11.2% are enrolled in an honors program

35.2% aid

T/E Life

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

s 2020







BABSON COLLEGE Robert Wilson BOSTON COLLEGE Sabrina Borni, Will Kling, Grace Studnick BOSTON UNIVERSITY Gabriela Calvitti, Jack Hamilton BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY Alexander Cheetham CLARK UNIVERSITY EMERSON COLLEGE Claire Overton HARVARD UNIVERSITY Claire Guo NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY Sandra An, Katie Billman, Matthew Doble, Nate Kwak, Ryan Lake, Sanjana Sanghani, David Weger, Karen Xu STONEHILL COLLEGE Emilia Dunn TUFTS UNIVERSITY Madison Red

new hampshire


new york


OF PENNSYLVANIA Emma Frank Balk, Bailey Yablonovitz ton Bayle, Katharine Gay, Grace OverRidder, Allyson Riuli SITY Mihir Dhamankar a Brightman ood Ansari, Henry Bailey, Emma Davis, b, Nyla Nguyen, Liz Rapushi, Annie

SAINT JOSEPH’S UNIVERSITY Julia Littlewood, Ryan Salamone SUSQUEHANNA UNIVERSITY Megan Pettit SWARTHMORE COLLEGE Ben Lee, Eleanor VanRheenen TEMPLE UNIVERSITY Tasniem Abadalla, Imani Alleyne, Dominik Barczak, Lily Bielinski, Gary Bolis, Andrew Bucko, Angela Chang, Sarah Ghabra, Madison Frable, Konstantin Markovic, Sara McGinn, Kaddy Mihaj, Kelley Nowlan, Christina Orange, Rebecca Rountree, Rush Senapathy, Mason Thorne UNIVERSITY 4OF PENNSYLVANIA Jamie Alexander, Dhivya

Kavish Senthilkumar, Joey Wei, Matthew Xu, Richard Yang, Hansen Yi UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH Amisha Chander, Olivia Dodge, Sara Dogan, Aaryan Gaikwad, Rachel He, Rebecca Jalboot, Ankita Kalasabail, Emma Krapels, ah Seibel, Aaron Weber Nicole Liu, Grace Madeira, Benji Margolis, Zachary Miles, Aidan in Donovan, Mariah Ricci Danon, Charley Furtaw, Maggie Gos- Moynagh, Sarah Nselel, Basilio Palomo, Rohit Raja, Dhiya nter, Corena Munroe, Xavier Piccone, Ravinuthala, Olivia Snyder, Lucy Wydeven, Yunge Xiao, Joey Zhou UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON Patrick Kelly vion Perry ERSITY Chase Adler, Ashley Amendola, UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS Kaylee Morris nett, Emily Benzinger, Tyler Blagden, URSINUS COLLEGE Riley DeShetler, Lauren Kovarick, Areeb Umar VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY Micaela Beatty, Annie Dudeear, Cristina Olivia Brake, Luke Brown, Jaden io, Cameron Evitts, Jack Forgie, Parker Green, Ellena Hocevar, Aaron Jennings, Noah Lanouette, Grace Manion, Will Yocum, Helen Zou ymel, Joseph Ibarra, Grace Inserra, WAYNESBURG UNIVERSITY Elli Strickland Grace Kim, Alex Korbel, Jihee Lee, wski, Augie Mallott, Alex Medley, Josh WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY David Arlen, Christina Carter, Thomas Conroy, Owen Cutler, Violet Gottlieb, Megan Lundquist, Anthony ulos, Andrea Razzo, Maeve Regan, David Scheer, Jamie Semmer, Maddie Milano, Jess Woodward e Taicher, Finn Thompson, Samantha YORK COLLEGE OF PENNSYLVANIA Paige Reinhart an, Nicolaas Weggelaar, Cael Wilner, r

Nadia Zinni herine Haley, Nathan Keely, Annie

49.9% received a merit-based scholarship

75.2% of seniors have a major in mind

COLGATE UNIVERSITY Jack Hyams COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY Pranav Garimidi CORNELL UNIVERSITY Shiva Dahagam, Mira Harris, Jenny Li, Andrew McLellan, Max Harmon, Deacon Mayock FORDHAM UNIVERSITY Avery Carty, Valerie Palladino HAMILTON COLLEGE Jessica Frantzen HUNTER COLLEGE Hunter Mcilvain ITHACA COLLEGE Wesley Czubryt-Ogino, Justin Demilio MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC Elizabeth Holton NEW YORK UNIVERSITY Ciara Gilmartin, Rahul Raja PRATT INSTITUTE Sebastian Castro SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY Brady Carpenter UNION COLLEGE Evan Nadel UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER Calista Courtney

rhode island



MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE Louise Hay UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT Ryan Harris, Carly Hottenstein, Molly Jenkins, Luca Mossman, Sydney White

midatlantic delaware

UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE Maddie Achackzad, Jack Dudrear, Natalie Moyer, Nicole Moyer, Kennedy Niness, Melanie Simpson, Spencer Russian


new jersey


Washington D.C.


Spoke by the class of 2020. A total of 385 seniors responded to The Spoke's requests for senior destinations. 191 seniors did not respond. CENTERSPREAD COMPILED BY HYUNJIN LEE & ANANYA KULKARNI, DESIGNED BY HYUNJIN LEE


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Senior farewell: A few words of wisdom After four years at ‘Stoga, our Spokie seniors are signing off. But before they go, here’s some final advice: Invest time into your friends and things that make you happy. While school and grades should be a top priority, make them equal on the totem pole to your personal happiness. Go to the soccer game on a Tuesday night with your friends even if you have a test the next day. Staying up a few hours later to study won’t kill you, and the memories with your friends will definitely be worth it. Don’t let your ’Stoga experience be consumed by school work, because it is much more than that. — Aimee Buttenbaum Do whatever brings you joy, not what always makes the most sense. Some of the best memories I’ve made and people I’ve met at Conestoga came from going out of my comfort zone. It’s easy to sit back and do what feels familiar, but you can’t truly find out who you are if you keep going down the beaten path. — Alex Gurski

Charity Xu/The SPOKE

Trust when I say that Conestoga needs you. Badly. The armada of Jeep Wranglers™ in the student lot reeks enough of conformity. Don’t let this area, or the clones who “rule” it, squander your authenticity. It’s cool to wear shoes other than Airforce 1’s. It’s cool not to go

to Florida or Avalon. It’s cool to have a brain filled with meaningful opinions. Do you, smile because of it (^u^). —Andrew Bucko As John Mulaney says, the worst dancer at a party is the one who’s not dancing. So learn a box step and just get out there. — Audrey Kim Remember that we’re all a little lost and you don’t need to know who you are and where you’re going. You’ll figure it out naturally, over the course of a lifetime. (I, for example, still have no idea what I’m doing.) When you’re overwhelmed, zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — from teachers, faculty, family, other students. You’ll be surprised how often you get it. — Claire Guo Whether you are a freshman, a sophomore, or a junior, your journey has just begun! You will only continue forward from here so my best advice for you is to live your highschool life to the fullest. Most importantly, do not compare yourselves to others. Never let others negatively influence you. It is crucial to discover who you are and what you want to do. — Cocoro Kambayashi As I look back on my high school experience, my major piece

Don’t allow guilt to drag your quarantine down

Melinda Xu

Co-Managing Editor Emeritus A few weeks ago, my sister asked me a question. “Did you know that Isaac Newton had his most productive period working from quarantine during the Great Plague of London?” In a time when many of us students are stuck at home, the idea of productivity and efficiency has taken on a new definition in our lives. With no more bleary-eyed 6 a.m. wake-up times to catch the school bus, no more carved out 43-minute blocks dedicated to learning and no more strict assessments, much of the structure of daily life has been swept out from under our feet. Despite managing to maintain

as much normalcy as possible through Microsoft Teams meetings, Schoology updates and edited together video clips, I’ve noticed that this lack of structure has invited in a new emotion: guilt. As my sister — and The Washington Post — was implying in her question, there’s a general sense that we should be doing something with ourselves during quarantine. At first glance, it seems to make sense. Without our usual avenues of productivity, we should find something to dedicate ourselves to, to turn lemons into lemonade, as the saying goes. If Newton could develop the beginnings of calculus, begin his discoveries in the field of optics AND unearth the secrets of gravity while home away from Cambridge, surely we should be doing something, right? Well, yes and no.

First of all, yes, you should do something. With the many technologies on our hands, we’re lucky to be able to experience this pandemic in relatively opportunistic ways.

es for books, movies and art. There’s an opportunity to explore things you’ve never done before, to follow a dance tutorial in the safety of your home, or to try cooking recipes that

Melinda Xu/The SPOKE

What we can no longer do in person, we can adapt to do through screens. We still have classes, get-togethers with friends, and online resourc-

seemed too intimidating or time extensive before. Find something you’re interested in! Have fun! But, no, don’t pressure

yourself to do anything you don’t want to do or expect to turn into the next Isaac Newton. On a normal day, would you beat yourself up for taking a break, for procrastinating some work for one more episode of your fave TV show? So why should you feel bad if you do the same during the middle of an unprecedented pandemic with record levels of unemployment and a general atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and tragedy? All our lives have flipped upside down, and we are simply adapting to these times. So we deserve to forgive ourselves if some days we stay in PJs and if, woe-be-us, we can’t discover the secret to gravity. After all, as professor of science writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Thomas Levenson wrote in The New Yorker, “the real lesson (from Newton) is to remember whatever aspect of your life that fired your passion before this mess — and to keep stoking it now.”


Drinking boiling water kills coronavirus

Evan Lu

Webmaster If you are experiencing classic symptoms of the novel coronavirus, go boil a cup of water and drink it while hot. That’s right, chugging boiling water kills the coronavirus. Forget the useless advice from the CDC, and skip the annoying visit to the doctor’s office; there’s no need! A recent scientific experiment conducted by YouTuber Divoc Xaoh has concluded that consuming extremely hot water (preferably

Deer Park, but Dasani works too), heated to the minimum boiling temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit will rid your body of COVID-19. The unqualified YouTube star explained his revolutionary findings in a recent video directed to his online cult-following. “Ingesting water that is boiling will almost certainly flush out the coronavirus from your body. As the water travels down the esophagus, the extreme heat and flood of moisture kills the virus instantly,” Xaoh said. Despite mild side effects ranging from third-degree burns and the permanent inability to speak to slow and painful death, zero test subjects complained about their coronavirus symptoms following treatment, and none described the experiment as painful in the verbal survey afterwards.

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

For those who are allergic or religiously opposed to drinking water, Xaoh suggests alternative methods of treatment.

“Liquid nitrogen and rattlesnake venom can be used to replace the water if necessary, although they are not as

effective or efficient. As a final resort, the blood of the species Homo fraternimale (commonly known as the foolish frat boy) can be used to combat the virus, as the overconfidence and naiveté of this creature naturally prevent the growth of the virus,” Xaoh said (editor’s note: foolish frat boys can be found intoxicated in their natural habitats, namely, sketchy house parties and Florida beach houses). Although the boiling water treatment was rejected by the Food and Drug Administration for official approval, Xaoh will continue to spread his findings. “I urge you, don’t listen to the government. Just trust me and we can survive these tough times together. Just remember, the next time you experience a fever, cough or shortness of breath, all you have to do is reach for your kettle.”

of advice would be to get involved in as much as you can and try not to miss out on opportunities that you can’t get back. Whether this is joining a specific club that you’ve always been interested in or going to a Friday night football game, high school goes by so quickly and you want to make sure that you’re making as many memories as you can. — Emma Clarke High school is more than just a stepping stone to college. It’s a chance to see what works for you and what doesn’t, so try new things and take risks—find your passion. More importantly, don’t always look ahead to the next weekend, break, or big milestone, and try to enjoy the process of experimentation and self-discovery! — Matthew Fan The end result is almost always going to be okay, even if in the short run it’s a spectacular failure. The process of short run to long run, though, isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s not going to be fun. Actually, maybe more than sometimes. But if you’re not ever having fun, then you need to stop what you’re doing and find your fun. — Melinda Xu When you’re in high school it feels like you have all the time in the world, but it will be over before you know it. Don’t waste energy

worrying about what other people think of you. Take the time to spread kindness and discover what makes you happy, because that’s what really matters. — Mira Harris While the phrase “you never know when it’s going to end” might’ve been true for us, for the vast majority of you it won’t be. You’ll know exactly when high school’s going to end, but don’t wait until your last few weeks at Conestoga to truly enjoy it. Take time to appreciate the unique environment that ‘Stoga provides, and you’ll leave with great memories. — Richard Li Always put in your best effort so you don’t live with regret. And remember that even if someone is more talented than you, it doesn’t give you an excuse not to work hard because at least you know you tried. Your future self will thank you. — Sanjana Sanghani Even if you aren’t a Latin nerd, you’ve probably come across the phrase “carpe diem” loosely translated as “seize the day.” Despite originating thousands of years ago, it couldn’t be more relevant for our graduating class. So cherish the limited time you have because it might disappear in an instant. This is your time. Now go forth and conquer! — Tiffany He

From the editors: From the inside out

Claire Guo and Audrey Kim Co-Editors-in Chief Emeriti

Dear Reader, From Donald Trump’s election to the current coronavirus pandemic, major events have bookended our four years at Conestoga — with plenty of news in between. Student rallies and upcoming renovations have transformed our local and school communities. We’ve been lucky to cover these events as student journalists. We’ve also had the unique opportunity to become media literate from the inside out, exploring how and why journalists make their decisions. How does the headline and structure of an article, or the layout of photos and copy on a page, contribute to objective, ethical reporting?

The rapid spread of information across the internet makes media literacy more important than ever. How we engage with news, from print to social media, has changed the way we think and discuss issues. Most high schools and colleges don’t integrate media literacy into the curriculum, but it’s vital that we as individuals critically examine and evaluate the information we consume. Let’s reject echo chambers and embrace open conversations. Although our four years here have ended in a way that no one could have expected, we’ll carry this time with us far beyond the limits of high school. To our advisers, thank you for always guiding us to the next story. To the incoming co-editors-inchief Ananya Kulkarni and Christina Lee, we wish you the best. To our new staff, Charity Xu/The SPOKE may your time at The Spoke help you grow as much as it did us. And to everyone else, thanks for reading. Sincerely, Audrey and Claire

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

The Spoke is published seven

The SPOKE Staff

times per year at School Paper Editors-in-Chief: Claire Guo, Audrey Kim Press. It consistently receives aManaging Editors: Tiffany He, Melinda Xu Gold rating from PSPA and News Editor: Richard Li T/E Life Editors: Aimee Buttenbaum, Hyunjin Lee CSPA, and is a National Opinion Editors: Andrew Bucko, Matthew Fan Scholastic Press Association Sports Editor: Ananya Kulkarni Pacemaker award-winning Design Editor: Reese Wang publication. The Spoke servesCopy Editor: Sophia Pan as a public forum for student Multimedia Editor: Alex Gurski Business Manager: Andrew Fessick expression. Webmaster: Katherine Lee

Incoming Editorial Board Cartoonists: Coco Kambayashi, Trey Phillips, Elena Schmidt, Charity Xu Staff Reporters: Emma Clarke, Abigail Carella, Alexis Costas, Aditi Dahagam, Aishi Debroy, Emma Galef, Julia Harris, Mira Harris, Akshita Joshi, Evan Lu, Gavin Merschel, Kate Phillips, Trey Phillips, Devon Rocke, Hiba Samdani, Umar Samdani, Sanjana Sanghani, Elena Schmidt, Zakiyah Gaziuddin Faculty Advisers: Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt, Susan Gregory

Editors-in-Chief: Ananya Kulkarni, Hyunjin Lee Managing Editors: Sophia Pan, Reese Wang News Editor: Zakiyah Gaziuddin T/E Life Editors: Katherine Lee, Umar Samdani Opinion Editor: Devon Rocke Sports Editor: Alexis Costas Assistant Sports Editor: Akshita Joshi Multimedia Editor: Abigail Carella Business Manager: Andrew Fessick Photography Editor: Hiba Samdani Webmaster: Evan Lu Web Content Editors: Aditi Dahagam, Aishi Debroy

Letters to the editor: Letters to the editor may be submitted to Editors-in-Chief Ananya Kulkarni and Hyunjin Lee, or advisers Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt and Susan Gregory. Editorials: Unsigned editorials represent the views of The Spoke editorial board, not necessarily those of the administration, student body, community or advertisers. The opinions expressed in signed columns are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinion of The Spoke. Paid advertisements: The Spoke accepts paid advertisements. Email @thespoke @thespoke /thespoke the_spoke


Tuesday May 26, 2020

Friends are not exceptions to social distancing guidelines

Matthew Fan

Co-Opinion Editor Emeritus This pandemic has brought out the best in people. Buying and delivering groceries to the elderly and immunocompromised. Donating hand-sewn masks. Raising money through online concerts. And everyone seems to understand how important social distancing is. In fact, I see messages on Instagram every day: “Stay inside so we can flatten the curve!” At the same time, these same people will post to their Instagram pictures of them hiking in the

park with a couple of their friends, and none of them have masks on. To this, I can’t help but feel dumbfounded. One of the biggest challenges of social distancing is avoiding loneliness. We Conestoga students have been confined to our homes for over a month now with no end in sight. The White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, Deborah Birx, even says that some form of social distancing will last through summer. Sometimes, we feel extremely disconnected from our friends despite our vast social media connections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deteriorating mental health is a huge concern during this pandemic, so it is indeed important to check in with loved ones and friends. However, this guideline does not grant you permission

to disregard social distancing measures. I understand how tempting a get-together can be and how you can convince yourself of its safety. Even if you and your friend stay home for two weeks, Carolyn Cannuscio, a social epidemiolog ist at the University of Pennsylvania, says there is always risk. Perhaps your parent went to the grocery store or you came in close contact with a neighbor while exercising outside. The risk may be low, but it is still there. It would be a disservice to

both yourself and your friend to meet in-person if it is not

A decent substitute is what my friend calls a walk-andtalk. Go for a walk at the same time and simply call each other. What if you were really looking forward to making that French baguette with your best friend? Set up a device in your kitchen, video call, and follow the recipe s i mu lt a n e ou s ly. You can still have so much fun watching the other person’s successes and blunders while Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE absolutely necessary. you experience your own. Let’s say you really want to We all know that this pango on that walk with a friend. demic is a war that is being

“Obviously it’s been hard to not be around my friends, but I’ve gotten a little more used to it now. In the beginning it was a little more nerve-wracking, but (I like) talking on the phone and watching TV more and I have more time to get my homework done which is nice, but I’m going a little stir-crazy.”

“Not in a bad way, really. I still talk to my friends (by) sending photos or something that I found funny over Instagram”


waged in hospitals across the world. On the front lines are healthcare workers, some of whom lack masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that can prevent them from contracting COVID-19 from their patients. They put their lives on their line to save ours. Their one wish? “Please stay home for us.” And it is not that huge of a request. In this modern technological era, there are so many ways to maintain face-to-face contact without having to break social distancing. FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Hangouts. For me, video calls have been my savior. They make me feel connected with my peers and assure me that I am doing my part to keep them safe. So, just because you are physically separated does not mean you have to be socially isolated.

Via Welker-Ebling, freshman

- Bridget Davidson,

“Because of social distancing there has been an impact on how much I see my friends, but I still manage to stay connected. Because I can’t see them in person, I use different methods to interact with them, like FaceTime and Snapchat. Quarantine, of course, is boring, but necessary, and it doesn’t mean I can’t talk to my friends!”

“I’ve gone on several different walks. I social distance with my friends, we’ll walk around my neighborhood (to) just get some fresh air and continue exercising.We went on a bike ride a couple weeks ago which was good.”

- People from all parts of

Social Distancing

Disney+ + Hours of



No Finals


Online School





Mental health: You’re not alone

Living through a pandemic is, naturally, a stressful and perhaps surreal time in everyone’s lives. The toll that a lack of social contact with friends and family and the uncertain nature of the problems we face weighs heavily on many of us right now. As the mantra of staying home and flattening the curve rings on, so does the echo of panic and anxiety. Through these tense times, however, one thing remains clear: we are not in this alone. With the constant flood of new reports, it can be easy to lose your bearings. In a survey done by Common Sense Media, a reported eight out of ten teens are closely following news on the virus, with 61% reporting concern that they or a loved one will be exposed. While it’s important to stay up to date, and the need to stay informed certainly is understandable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises to “take breaks from


- Kelli Ruth,

- Manoj Kuppusamy,

News Editor

The Coronavirus



Zakiyah Gaziuddin

Report Card


watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media.” Consuming an overwhelming number of reports can increase already existing anxiety you have about all that’s going on in the world. The survey also found that 42% of teens said they feel “more lonely than usual,” with 43% saying they feel “about as lonely as usual.” While the anxiety surrounding us all is to be expected, it’s important that we do not lose hope however far it may seem. We live in a digitized age, and now more than ever, the need for

may have lost our regular routines. The virus has changed everyone’s daily lives, and the plans we’d set in our minds for years or for months have been upended. We share a collective disappointment in the losses of our milestones — graduation, prom, sports, internships — as well as the things that once seemed mundane and arbitrary. We must make room for what we feel. This is the first immediate global crisis our generation has faced, and it’s new territory for each of us. But we are in this together. In these fright-

grounding and connection runs high. Our phones can do a world of good, whether it’s to watch a movie over Zoom with your friends, to discover new music, even to simply call up a friend or read that book you never got to. After over a month of distance learning, many of us

ening times, it’s crucial that we tend to the mental wellbeing of each other as well as our own. Don’t pressure yourself to feel as if you need to accomplish something; it’s okay to take this time to breathe. It’s more than enough that you are trying to pull through this. You are not alone.

Charity Xu/The SPOKE

The gap year: Considering a road not often taken

Audrey Kim

Co-Editor-in-Chief Emeritus A year ago, in my junior year of high school, my mom jokingly brought up the idea of taking a year off before college. “Nah,” I said, disliking the idea of being a year behind my classmates, although I knew perfectly well that the difference between entering college at age 18 versus age 19 was minimal, at best. But as the months passed, I did some research online, talked to some college students I knew, and by the time fall of senior year came, I was eagerly planning my own gap year as college admissions season dragged on. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the country, several events that normally occur for seniors have been canceled or pushed back -- including graduation, prom, and colleges’ visiting days, where admitted students visit college campuses to get a better sense of the academics and communities there. Because of these cancellations, I know several seniors who have struggled choosing where they will spend the next four years of their life, especially when they haven’t even visited the college in question. With mental health being impacted and whether college will even continue in the fall in question, more students than ever are considering the option

of a gap year. As a year outside the academic zone, a gap year allows time for students to recover from Conestoga’s stress-filled environment. More importantly, it gives students time for self-reflection and to figure out what they want to do in the future, especially if they’re not sure what major or field they want to head into. It’s a time

much-needed time to save up for college, especially with the heavy approaching weight of college debt on students’ shoulders. Working a part-time or full-time job allows students to build up their college funds, or perhaps even start some retirement funds early, which build interest over time. More abstractly, a gap year spent outside our comfort zone of school and

where students can rediscover old hobbies and spend time on activities we couldn’t commit to in high school -- whether that be volunteering, traveling, creating art, or cooking. A gap year is also a

home assembles valuable life skills, such as independence, responsibility, and self-esteem. Those are things that we bring with us for the rest of our life, not just for 12 months. The effects after a gap year

have been statistically positive as well. According to a national 2016 study by Temple University, students who take a gap year before college have higher grades on average, likely due to the fact that they take classes more seriously after more experience in the “real world.” They are more likely to graduate within four years or less, compared to the national average of six years, and more likely to report higher life satisfaction. Although some may consider a gap year as a waste of time, a gap year isn’t much when compared to the already high cost of attending college, of which a public university student pays an average of $20,000 for. If a student is unsure about their plans in college, a gap year allows for that time of self-reflection, and to build a sense of not only who they are but also what they can be. If you’ve already accepted a college offer, emailing the admissions office about the option of a gap year, with Elena Schmidt/The SPOKE a rough outline of how you’ll spend it, may be something worth considering. As the pandemic continues and daily life remains uncertain, whether students will return to campus next fall is in question. But not everything has to be.

Charity Xu/The SPOKE


Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Spring sports canceled: What it means to seniors Elena Schmidt Staff Reporter

All spring sports were postponed as ’Stoga closed its doors on Friday, March 13. Following the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education’s announcement on April 9 closing PA schools for the remainder of the school year, PIAA canceled the remaining winter championships and the entire spring sports season. It is still uncertain whether the fall season will also be impacted. While athletes across the board were disappointed to hear that their games were cancelled and their group training and had ended, seniors were especially heartbroken to find out that their last season at ’Stoga was over. Senior Claire Overton has been playing softball since kindergarten and was looking forward to her last high school season. She had a successful season the year before, as the team made it to the state tournament for the first time in 12 years. “(I was) excited to continue and bring that excitement and momentum from last year to this year, with all the underclassmen that are filling all the positions,” Overton said. “I’m missing playing with all of them and seeing everybody and having all the senior activities but also the games.” However, she was glad to have played well in the last two softball scrimmages of the season. Overton is optimistic about the future and grateful to have more seasons

ahead of her at Emerson College. While she knows the importance of practice, she has been finding it more challenging to train by herself. “I think my motivation has fluctuated a little bit, being stuck at home. I’m less motivated to go out and do stuff, but I also need to stay in a good rhythm. I need to stay good and get all those fundamentals continued so when we do go back, I’m not behind everybody else,” Overton said. As Overton reflected on her high school and athletic career, she noted the value of appreciating aspects of daily life. “You don’t know when your last game is. Always play like it’s your last, because a global pandemic could occur and everything could be gone, (and) you never know when you’re going to get injured. You should always play to your best, (and) don’t take anything for granted.” Senior lacrosse player Michael Prestipino is also disappointed that his last year at ’Stoga was cut short, having looked forward to it for four years. He trains for lacrosse year-round, and misses practicing with his team. While he is eager to play on scholarship at the University of Virginia, there are days when Prestipino also lacks motivation to train, since his next official season is still a few months away. For now, Prestipino is making do with the limited options he has to train. “Now, pretty much everything’s closed — I was going to the track a lot but now even the

track got closed. So basically, the only stuff I can do is run around my neighborhood or lift weights in my basement, but I can’t go to the gym anymore or to any fields and run. The training has been limited but at least I’m still able to get some stuff in,” Prestipino said. Like Overton, Prestipino encourages others, especially underclassmen, to enjoy high school and its sports seasons while they last, knowing how quickly time goes by. “I guess you never know when your last practice is going to be, or your last day of school — like that random Thursday. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have before it’s gone,” Prestipino said. “Don’t get to your senior year and realize (that) everything’s done, like your last game, and all that. Just think of it beforehand, how lucky you are to be in this situation, (to have) more games.” While fall sports have not been cancelled, their current status is still in question. Richard Hawkins, a teacher and cross-country coach at ’Stoga, is trying to remain optimistic that the upcoming season will take place. Though he is planning for a normal season, he is taking potential obstacles of social distancing into account as well. “If there (are) limitations on gathering the number of kids, which it sounds like there might be, I might have to have several practices so the numbers are lower. I guess that’s the way I would think about it: staggering practices,” Hawkins said.

Elena Schmidt/THE SPOKE

Closed for the season: Caution tape blocks the entrance to the Conestoga track. The PIAA canceled all spring sports on April 9, making the track team one of many unable to compete this year. Hawkins agrees that gathering the motivation to train is more difficult when training individually. Hawkins acknowledges this, knowing that the season may be cancelled if dangerous conditions persist. “In cross country, there’s a lot of camaraderie among the teammates. They like working out to-

gether, stretching together — it’s a strong part of cross country. Without that, it’s going to affect (training) for sure,” Hawkins said. “You’re more driven to do the workouts if you’re there being supported by your peers and your teammates. Without that, it’s going to be a little bit harder on the athletes to be self-motivated.”

Hawkins sympathizes with student athletes, especially for seniors, and poses an important question toward those who were going to start a sport. “My message to the seniors: my heart goes out to you because I get to see all the blood, sweat and tears that you put in over your high school career, and you are

cheated out of your senior year. It’s very unfortunate and heartbreaking,” Hawkins said. “For the new runners that want to get into the sport, you get to test how self-motivated you can be. Can you do the training without a coach yelling at you or your teammates? You get to find out who you are. Can you be a self-disciplined athlete?”

With gyms closed, how are people staying active at home? Gavin Merschel Staff Reporter

Junior Isaiah Willis used to go to the gym with the football team every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after school. Now, with that option no longer available, Willis and most other athletes are trying to exercise with their limited resources. “I am trying to keep the fitness; the work ethic is still in me. I usually wake up pretty early and do some workouts in the morning, usually some cardio or speed and agility type stuff in the morning when I’m most active and have the most energy,” Willis said. “I walk around the block or run around the block with my family, get active, just get some air.” Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Conestoga students had access to various forms of exer-

cise such as playing a sport, going to a gym such as the YMCA or Lifetime, or going on runs with a friend. Due to social distancing, most of these options are currently unavailable. For many athletes training to perform at their peak, the stayat-home orders have left their daily routines empty. To fill this void, teams such as the football, lacrosse, baseball, crew and track teams, have been sending out workouts to their players to give them a stable routine. Willis uses the football team’s workouts as a guideline. “I go by their plan every day they post something. I do what they do, but I do a little extra that me and my dad do as well,” Willis said. Along with workouts, some teams have posted challenges and fun events on social media for their athletes to complete to encourage connection between teammates. The girls’ lacrosse team has been posting a series

of workouts, stick tricks and other drills to benefit not only current players but also anybody interested in lacrosse. Girls’ lacrosse senior Anne Nikolic reflects on the experience. “Since we found our season has been canceled, we have been trying to stay positive,” Nikolic said. “On our Instagram, our team has been posting many fun workouts, stick tricks and lacrosse series. We wanted not just ourselves but everyone in the community to stay connected by continuing to play lacrosse. It is such a special sport to many people, and there are so many activities anyone can do in quarantine.” Students such as junior Nick Arbes, who go to the gym for personal gain, have also been affected by the outbreak. Arbes was dedicated to maintaining fitness to the top of his ability before quarantine, but now his plans have taken a detour.

“Before quarantine, it was a lot of heavy lifting. I was able to go to the gym. I had a routine. I was keeping my body fat levels super low. I was eating really clean,” Arbes said. “But then by the first couple weeks of quarantine, it was tough because the gyms were closed, and I kind of let it go a little bit. I was not eating super clean. But then after a week went by, I hopped back on the train.” Though the incentives for staying in shape right now may be gone, maintaining fitness during this time also serves to keep all athletes connected emotionally to their sports and ready to come back in full-swing as soon the social distancing orders are lifted. “Our season might be over, but our team is still continuing to go through this together and staying connected as much as we can,” Nikolic said.

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

Shut down: The Upper Main Line YMCA closes to the public because of the county-wide stay at home order. Prior to the closure of the YMCA, many student athletes used this and other local health facilities to stay in shape.

Personal training: EEPE goes online Akshita Joshi

Assistant Sports Editor Extended experience physical education (EEPE) is an alternative for students to meet their physical education requirements, requiring each student to fulfill a minimum of 30 supervised hours of physical activity each semester. Students typically complete their requirements at fitness centers such as the YMCA and Lifetime Fitness Center. However, due to the statewide closures of nonessential businesses like gyms and fitness centers, EEPE was revised to make sure that students would be able to meet these requirements at home. Each student must complete a specific number of activities within the categories of physical, non-physical and mental health depending on the number of hours needed to reach the 30 hour mark. Students who need 0-10 hours must complete two physical activities, one non-physical activity and one

Akshita Joshi Staff Reporter

Courtesy Kaitlyn Casciato

Being flexible: Sophomore Kaitlyn Casciato cools down with some yoga after her EEPE workout. The extended experience program was revised following Conestoga’s closure on March 13 to accomodate stay-at-home orders. mental health activity. Those who need 11-20 more hours must do four physical activities, two non-physical activ-

ities and one mental health activity. Students who need 21-30 hours must complete two times the requirements of their 11-20 hours peers in each of the three categories. Assistant principal Dr. Patrick Boyle runs extended experience and made the decision to add mental health activities to EEPE, which usually only requires physical health activities. He added this aspect to encourage students to take care of their mental health while they were trapped at home. “We tried to create a pro-

gram that allowed students to have a full experience of physical health, motivational health, and mental health in a short period of time,” Boyle said. The physical health category includes activities from DAREBEE, a fitness challenge website chosen by the school. Activities on DAREBEE include body circuits and no-sugar challenges. Sophomore Kaitlyn Casciato, who originally chose EEPE due to the choices of physical activity available to her at the YMCA, loves how she can also choose

her workouts on DAREBEE. “I think it’s a great way to get students to get up and exercise while staying home. I also like being able to do it alone because I can go at my own pace and choose my own workouts depending on my mood,” Casciato said. The non-physical health activities ask students to submit written reflections about videos on leadership lessons in sports, inspirational quotes and advice from athletes. The mental health portion of the requirement focuses on gratitude. Students can choose to write a letter to someone special, write about friends and family members that they are grateful to, or write a “quarantine reflection” that describes activities they have been doing to keep in “optimal shape.” While students like Casciato like the new requirements, others like sophomore Katherine Zhang feel that the new requirements don’t fit the course. “There is a lot more than what we would normally do because now I feel as though we have to do so much more than simple exercises, and there’s even writing involved, which I think is a bit much for EEPE,” Zhang said. All students must turn in their EEPE verification forms by May 15. Extended experience will return to its original requirements next school year as fitness centers begin to reopen in the coming months.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

College recruitment changes


Cancellations due to COVID-19 affect recruiting process for ’Stoga sophomores and juniors


suspension of winter sports championships for at least two weeks, cutting short ’Stoga swim and dive’s time at the 2020 PIAA swimming state championships.

By Reese Wang and Ananya Kulkarni Co-Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief Junior sprinter Henry Miller’s sophomore spring track season was cut short due to an injury. He had spent most of his winter season building up his strength, hoping to go all-out during spring. “At the end of the winter season, I was where I wanted to be, until my spring season, I would hopefully start to be making strides towards getting PRs (personal records),” Miller said. Miller’s comeback was interrupted when schools closed on March 13 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in neighboring counties. According to a Schoology update by Athletic Director Kevin Pechin in the CHS Athletics group, Central League competition would resume as soon as schools reopened. However, on April 9, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education closed all public schools in the state for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, followed by PIAA canceling the remaining winter championships and spring season. According to Miller, getting more recent times from this spring track season would have made recruitment easier. Track and field head coach Mark Carberry believes that missing the spring season wouldn’t adversely affect any singular athlete. “Every single high school student is in the same exact boat. No one got to run a spring season. So, you know, if there was one kid that was going to be primed for this huge season and then a kid that was primed for a small season, we’ll never know,” Carberry said. Boys’ lacrosse head coach Brody Bush typically spends the spring and summer seasons bringing college coaches to regular season games and taking prospective college athletes to recruiting tournaments. With all spring season games canceled and the fate of summer tournaments unknown, Bush recognizes uncertainty as a difficulty in recruiting during the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s hard because no one’s been through this before,” Bush said. “The college coaches haven’t been through it, the high school coaches haven’t been through it and the players haven’t, so it’s all sort of new for everyone.”

With competitions gone, what to do now? Sophomore Libby Winters has attended camps during the softball offseason at high academic schools since sixth grade to showcase her talents to college coaches there. Since she currently cannot play in front of college coaches, Winters works on improving all aspects of her game from home. “For me, obviously working hard, keeping up with the game, keeping up with conditioning and just trying to stay in the best shape possible (is important) so that come summer when we can actually play again, I can put myself in the best position,” Winters said. Another way athletes can show college coaches their skills is through making highlight videos from past games. Bush has always advised all of his players to make highlight videos, but he believes that videos are even more important with the absence of regular games and tournaments. The boys’ lacrosse team is subscribed to Hudl, a service that records all of the team’s games. Players can use the footage to create their own highlight videos to send to programs of interest. On the receiving end of some of these videos is the head coach of Cabrini University’s Division III men’s lacrosse team, Steve Colfer, who usually recruits about half of each class from the Greater Philadelphia area. With no games or tournaments to travel to, Colfer has turned to highlight videos to search for talent. “Obviously in an athletic recruitment, a live evaluation is the best. Not having that right now, we have to utilize a lot of the same technologies that everyone’s relying on every industry,” Colfer said. In track and field, where times and personal records are the driving factors in recruiting, Carberry recommends his underclassmen to use this time to fill out questionnaires, pepper colleges with recent times and send emails to recruiting coordinators expressing interest in their programs. With prior experience as the recruiting coordinator at Division III Tufts University and Division I St. Mary’s University and Villanova University before coach-

March 18- Athletic director

Kevin Pechin posts to the CHS Athletics Schoology group, announcing that the Central League plans to “keep the integrity of the league schedule” and continue league play as soon as school reopens.

April 9- PIAA cancels all re-

maining winter championships and the spring season following the closure of all Pennsylvania schools for the remainder of the school year.

May 7- Athletic director Kevin

Pechin begins posting “senior shout-out” videos, paying tribute to spring sports seniors who lost their final season.


Partnered with the Lacrosse Village initiative, the girls’ lacrosse team has been donating gift cards, hygiene packs, face masks and more to local shelters and hospitals. BASEBALL, FOOTBALL CHEERLEADING

Courtesy Steve Colfer

Virtual advice: Cabrini University boys’ lacrosse coach Steve Colfer holds a Zoom meeting with the Central Bucks West High School boys’ lacrosse team on recruiting during the coronavirus. Colfer usually recruits half of each class from southeastern Pennsylvania. He hopes high school students stay active in the recruiting process.

ing at ’Stoga, Carberry knows that kids who continuously express interest will be the ones to get preferential treatment from college coaches. “I can reach out to thousands and thousands of kids, but the kids that were coming back and talking to me, those are the kids I knew who were really interested in what we were building, and those are the kids you want to work with at the end of the day,” Carberry said. For juniors, who by the NCAA are allowed to have recruiting conversations with college coaches, expressing interest in programs is easier. Miller has emailed the coaches at most of the programs he’s interested in and has called two coaches who are also interested in him. He notes that, thanks to tech-

nology, staying in contact with coaches is easy. Colfer believes the rapid adaptation of technology in recruitment will stay even after coaches are allowed to meet potential recruits face-to-face. “Six weeks ago, if I were to Zoom call with the recruit’s parents, it would be somewhat awkward. Now, it’s not awkward at all,” Colfer said. “If I want to talk to a young man in Ohio, you used to only have the phone, and now I have the ability to use some of these different technologies and show him different things about Cabrini and the surrounding area without him having to drive eight hours to get to Cabrini before he decides, ‘hey, this might be a good fit for me.’ I think that there are some silver linings to this situa-

tion, and it can create advancements in an otherwise kind of, you know, not a great situation for any of us to be in.” Social distancing ends on-campus experiences Other than academics, Miller’s number one priority for a school is the feel of the campus. With universities closed due to the coronavirus, many schools have turned to technology to offer virtual tours to prospective students. Although Miller says that the couple of tours he looked at were cool, something was still missing. “Actually being there and seeing what it looks like in real life is always going to be better than over the computer,” Miller said. “I don’t really

have a preference on what the campus is, just, I need to know that I like it.” The NCAA allows five official visits for Division I schools and unlimited official visits for Division II and Division III schools for each athlete. Official visits are paid for by the school, and prospective student-athletes can meet with potential future coaches and teammates. High school athletes can also visit a school unofficially, which is not paid for by the school. The NCAA has asked for all colleges to suspend official visits until May 31 due to the coronavirus. Even though his recruits cannot physically go to Cabrini, Colfer uses Zoom to call potential recruits to introduce them to his program and their


The baseball, football, and cheerleading programs worked together in May to collect hundreds of food and drink donations for local first responders working at Paoli Hospital and the Tredyffrin police department.

potential future coaches and teammates. Colfer wants all high school athletes to stick to the process and be ready to visit schools again once social distancing measures are lessened. “To the lacrosse players at Conestoga and the other athletes, just continue to do what you’re doing,” Colfer said. “Don’t take this time to fall behind in recruiting, stay connected, make a short list of schools, interact with coaches virtually, use your email, use your technology to the best you can. As soon as we can get you back on campus and visiting with us to sit down face to face with you, we’ll happily do stuff, but don’t let this time kind of escape you and then find yourself behind in the recruiting process.”

Changes to national and international sports Ananya Kulkarni, Hiba Samdani and Reese Wang Co-Editor-in-Chief, Photography Editor and Co-Managing Editor

Intro With a third of the world under restriction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, professional sports are no exception to social distancing. The future of many tournaments, leagues and championships remains uncertain as many organisations have decided to suspend, postpone or cancel their seasons entirely in order to ensure the safety of players and spectators. However, as a concrete date to lift restrictions seems to be moving farther away due to the spread of the virus, many national sports have found alternative ways in which they can run their season which keep the safety of players and officials in mind. Here is a look at how some professional sports are adjusting to these changes.

March 11

March 12

NBA suspends 2019-2020 season until furthur notice

Nhl suspends league play until furthur notice

After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus before a game against the Thunder, the NBA postponed its 2019-2020 season, causing many sports organizations to reconsider the rest of their seasons. The following day, the NBA G league and 2K league also postponed their seasons. While the WNBA is currently in its off-season, they plan to structure the format of future events such as their 2020 draft keeping any changes that may arise due to the virus in mind. Finally, the NCAA canceled March Madness to protect the players, fans and coaches. To keep the professional players busy, ESPN hosted a

NBA 2k tournament and H-O-R-S-E tournament that players could participate in from the safety of their homes. Although ESPN did create these alternatives, junior Jack Susanin doesn’t feel like they have the same effect as following the regular season. “While they were entertaining for a little bit, they just didn’t fill my sports craving. I understand that ESPN needed to put something on TV, however seeing players not go at it as hard and just not look like their normal selves was weird,” Susanin said.

March 16 nascar postpones race events through May 3 After the postponement of all auto racing events through May 3, NASCAR announced their revised May schedule on April 31, with the first of seven races in 11 days starting on May 17 taking place at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. To ensure the safety of participants, none of the events were open to spectators and none of the events had practice sessions. Everyone entering the facilities were administered health screenings, and maintained social distancing measures.NASCAR plans to announce more race dates at a later time.

On the same day the NBA suspended its season, the NHL decided to take a pause, too. The regular season was scheduled to end on April 4 and the Stanley Cup Playoffs would begin on April 6. Because many of the NHL players share the same facilities as NBA players, they decided to suspend the league. As of May 18, the NHL league office has not reached a final decision. However, they are currently leaning towards concluding the 2019-2020 season and moving directly into playoffs with a proposed 24-team format instead of restarting the season with all 31 teams.

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Design by Reese Wang Co-Managing Editor

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mlb cancels spring training games, pushes back opening day After the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons, the MLB decided to delay the start of their own season as well as cancel spring training. The minor league has delayed the start of the season indefinitely. The 2020 MLB draft has also been postponed to July and will be shorter than usual. Currently, it is most likely that the MLB season will follow the Arizona Plan. This plan essentially proposes that all 30 teams will be quarantined in hotels and play the game in Phoenix, Arizona. This plan would also mean that no fans would be able to attend the game and players are required to practice social distancing.

“I think the lack of fans present will actually be a bigger effect than most people are thinking because a lot of teams use their fans’ energy to perform better,” junior Charlie Sisian said. “Playing on a dead silent field will be very different for them.”

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March 20

March 24

XFL cancels its inaugural 2020 season

2020 tokyo olympics postponed to July of 2021

The Xtreme Football League or XFL is a football league played in the spring with a variety of players, from alumni college stars to retired NFL players. The XFL was only five weeks into its inaugural season when officials decided to cancel the season. The league brings football fans games in the spring and has slightly different rules from the NFL. “I miss the kickoff and extra point changes the XFL made. I thought these were pretty innovative and piqued my interest in the league to begin with,” said social studies teacher Aaron Lockard. Unfortunately, it had to lay off many of its employees, but it still plans to play

a full season in 2021. While Lockard is disappointed with the XFL’s cancellation among many others, he is still looking forward to the start of the school’s regular season this coming fall. “I really look forward to the fall, not just for football, but field hockey and soccer are huge at Conestoga,” Lockard said. “I am really just excited to get back and watch some star athletes get back out there and have fun.”

Similarly, the Chief Executive of the games moved the 2020 Summer Olympics to 2021. Past the postponement of the major event, this also puts some athletes in a difficult position as many of them may need to put a hold on their training to support their families financially. “It is a sad irony that the people who bring their countries immense honor and pride, may be unable to support their families,” freshman Kovid Tandon said. Although it was declared that the games have been postponed, there is no guarantee that they will take place next year. Not only has a date not been finalized, but many people

TOKYO 2020 remain unsure when the quarantine will end. “I am slightly disappointed that the Olympics have been postponed as I was really excited to watch them. I feel that the Olympics really helped to bring the world together and encouraged a sort of global unity,” Tandon said.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020


The Pandemic in Pictures Written and designed by Ananya Kulkarni, Co-Editor-in-Chief


Suspended travel: A sign at the Philadephia International Airport advises social distancing. The airport recently reduced travel in an effort to support government measures which aim to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ananya Kulkaeni/THE SPOKE

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

One-way: A one way sign on the floor of the Paoli Acme Grocery Store warns customers to stay six feet apart in order to help enforce the county-wide social distancing orders.

Making deliveries: A Coca-Cola employee continues to deliver his company’s product to local grocery stores in order to keep the shelves stocked during the county-wide shutdown.

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

Ghost town: The usually populated Lancaster Avenue remains free of traffic as members of the community stay at home amid fears regarding COVID-19 pandemic.

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

Blocked: A blockade outside King of Prussia Mall stops community members from entering the building. The mall was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

Ananya Kulkarni/THE SPOKE

School’s out: A sign outside ’Stoga announces Gov. Wolf’s decision to close PA schools for the remainder of the academic year.

Empty hallways: The science wing remains vacant as the district moved to distance learning in order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19


The Spoke staff would like to give special thanks to our hometown heroes at the Paoli and Berwyn Fire Companies, the Paoli Hospital, Penn Medicine Valley Forge, the Tredyffrin Township Police Department and Easttown Police Department. We are grateful for all you do to keep our community safe and healthy during these uncertain times.

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