SCHS hosts its first ever Virtual Welcome Rally, evoking community in the time of COVID-19


Courtesy of SCHS Technology Representatives

The Welcome Rally was live-streamed on YouTube on Friday, August 28, 2020.

A student opens YouTube and settles into their bed, ready to attend the first-ever SCHS Virtual Welcome Rally. As the outside world is filled with uncertainty, they can find solace in the familiar feeling of a traditional high school event.

“The rally showed me that even though we’re not at school, there’s still hope for us,” senior Eduardo Solorio said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and SCUSD’s adoption of distance learning for the first semester, the Associated Student Body created a Virtual Welcome Rally, which premiered on YouTube on Friday, Aug. 28, at 2:30 p.m. The rally lasted just under 40 minutes, and the video currently has 1,603 views.

“Our goal was to welcome new and old students to SCHS. It was sort of a teaser trailer as to what this year would look like,” Technology Representative junior Ethan Buriel said. “We hoped to spark interest in the Bruin community to participate in clubs and events, even if it meant doing so online.”

However, Leadership students struggled with how to adapt their beloved activities to a virtual platform, according to ASB Treasurer, junior Curtis Leung.

“It was difficult to create the rally because of so many different unknown factors that we had never tackled before,” Leung said. “The hardest part was probably all the little details needed to pull something of this caliber off, like time and date, length, if it would be a pre-recorded stream or actually live.”

ASB Event Coordinator and senior My-Chau Truong also encountered challenges in the creation of the rally.

“It’s almost like (planning) a brand new event even though we’ve done this already in the past,” Truong said.

The event had all the components of a classic rally. Seniors Jema Mae Ranoy, ASB Spirit Commissioner, and Karei Higgs, ASB Entertainment Commissioner, MCed the show via a pretend Zoom call, senior Sierra Blackhurst sang the national anthem, and a video imitating the opening theme of popular shows “Brooklyn 99” and “The Office” introduced the Leadership class. According to Ranoy, virtually MCing the event was a challenge.

“Something that Karei and I really struggled with was keeping up a hype vibe and making sure people enjoyed it because it was kind of just us talking to each other on a screen,” Ranoy said.

However, some aspects of the event benefited from the added creativity a virtual space offered, according to Higgs. After the initial introductions, the rally featured Link Crew members answering common questions about high school to welcome the freshman class. Then, clubs were introduced with small informational videos. Higgs found these capabilities unique to the online platform were an upside of the rally.

“For a lot of clubs, when they do perform at rallies, it’s very difficult because you have to create an event,” Higgs said. “So with just club videos, it was very simple to just create a video.”

Another showcase unique to the virtual space was senior Byron Yang’s piano performance, which would have been difficult in a traditional rally. Some Bruins, like junior Luis Horchata, appreciated the added components.

“My favorite part was the piano part because I am an up-and-coming pianist myself,” Horchata said.

The rally concluded with the traditional SCHS Alma Mater, sung by senior Rayana Palacios.

Many students felt that the Virtual Welcome Rally was a great way for the school to maintain spirit and keep up a sense of community.

“This rally was a great reminder of SCHS’s individuality and perseverance during these times,” sophomore Serena Orr said. “It was definitely helpful for me because it reminded me of the welcoming community we’ll all be returning to as soon as everything is safe again.”

Some upperclassmen, like senior Nia La’Coste, found relief in the familiarity of the event.

“In the times of COVID-19, the rally provided comfort… and assurance that even though we’re not in person at school, we will still continue to do our normal routine throughout the school year,” La’Coste said.

Like La’Coste, ASB Athletics Commissioner, senior Alexa Mae Miranda, felt the rally was a great solution to bridging the distance of a virtual semester.

“The goal of the rally is to showcase our resilience and flexibility, but more than that, it’s about reminding students that we are all in this together,” Miranda said. “2020 has definitely rocked our generation in more ways than one, but I think that building a common ground based on the experiences we’ve shared holds value.”


Click here to view the Virtual Welcome Rally.