Due to COVID-19, many school events have been either postponed or cancelled, but staff is trying to make up for these lost experiences for the senior class.
For over 20 years, San Marin has had the tradition of seniors bidding on parking spaces in the football field parking lot and painting their spots. By abiding to COVID-19 protocols, seniors were able to bid for spots online through a Google Form and then paint their spaces while being socially distanced, wearing masks, and having separate assigned days for painting. Although seniors say it would have been more enjoyable to paint with their friends without being socially distanced, many are still glad that the school is providing some opportunities for them to make their senior year “more normal.”
“I still had fun painting my spot because my friend and I are matching spots so we worked at the same time and listened to music together while still being socially distanced,” senior Lucy Ostrowski said.
In past years, seniors would gather for a live auction in the library. This year, the auction was done through a Google Form and there were 30 spots that were up for bidding. Once all bids were collected, the person with the highest bid chose their spot and it went down the line. Students who just wanted a $30 spot just submitted a check for $30, however, the $30 spots were first come first serve, so whoever submitted the Google Form first got a closer spot. Seniors get priority every year, but if there are any spots leftover, juniors are allowed to pay for a $30 space, however, only seniors can paint.
“I feel like the auction was a little confusing, but that was because of the change it had to go through,” senior James Wreden said. “We had to wait out what was going to happen, but that was just the nature of the auction. Overall, I feel like they handled it well and it was executed smoothly, all things considered.”
Along with bidding for a spot, students also planned out a design of their spot, purchased paint and executed their idea onto their designated space. Many seniors spent hours during their scheduled day painting their spot and expressed how it was harder than they thought it would be.
“My spot took around four hours to paint and that didn’t include going back to the paint store multiple times to get more paint,” senior Emily Sullivan said. “Since Lucy Ostrowski and I are directly across from each other, we thought it would be cool to do cartoon characters. We ended up painting Mike Wazowski and Sully from Monsters Inc., and changed it up a little to relate to our names. When we were planning it out, it seemed pretty simple, but taking it from paper to a parking spot was more difficult than I thought.”
Every year all of the parking spots are sold out and despite the pandemic, all spots are sold out again this year. Although the fundraiser brought in less money than it did last year, the amount was not off by much, as they still raised $7,400. Traditionally, the money raised by selling parking spots goes to the senior class and is used to lower the cost of the prom.
“We are holding on to the money in hopes of having a prom,” Leadership teacher Neesha Patel said. “There is so much unknown at the moment but if there is a possibility of gathering, we want to have enough funds ready.”
By complying with the county’s rules San Marin has been restricted on what they can do for students in replacement of all of the events that have gotten cancelled. San Marin staff and a group of senior parents have been holding senior drive through events once a month that over 100 seniors have shown up to to receive a gift. So far these drive through events have been for seniors only, but staff is looking at ways to include other grades.
“At the moment, there is a group of senior parents that have been very instrumental in making the drive throughs happen,” Patel said. “Without their help, I don’t know if we could make it work! Ideally, we can do something for the other grades but we’re still brainstorming what that would look like.”
Undeterred by all of the unknowns with the pandemic and the uncertainty of prom, students felt that it was a great fundraiser and a great way for people to express their creative sides.
“I think it is a fantastic way for the school to raise money and a perfect opportunity for seniors to not only not worry about parking, but to also add some color to the campus,” Wreden said. “It was a little different this year, but overall the process still adds some great life and personality to the campus which I enjoy.”