Is Winchester Back? Time Will Tell…


We just needed an image…

Ben Winslow, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Is Winchester back from the pandemic? The answer to this ominous question has hung in limbo for months on end, teetering on the brink of yes, but always seeming to edge itself back into the no category. Just as a glimmer of high-school normality (a distinct phenomenon that only the seniors experienced briefly in their freshman year) arrives on the horizon, the boot of Covid arrives like clockwork to stamp it out. 

At the club fair last Tuesday, something in the air felt different. Club leaders stood packed, shoulder to shoulder, shouting and luring unknowing freshmen into their trap. Students bustled around the packed Willis Room, laughing and smiling as they gleefully signed up for many clubs that they are ultimately never going to attend meetings for, but who cares, that is the fun of the club fair. I can still remember my freshman year club fair (said as though I am eighty years old and reminiscing on a long past childhood), and as I watched the freshman sign up for club after club, I saw myself – and my eagerness – in them. I saw their all-too-familiar apprehension when I asked them if they liked writing. At one point, I got so desperate that I simply asked a freshman if they had ever read a newspaper, and if the answer was yes then they should definitely join Voices, but regardless, it finally felt like a missing piece of high school had returned. 

The club fair has always held a special place in the Winchester Thurston community. It represents the future. Eager freshmen sign up for clubs they will one day lead; their heads filled with ideas and goals that will shape the club – and our school –  in ways we haven’t even come to realize yet. They will undoubtedly leave their mark on this school, and the club fair represents the metaphorical leap they must take in order to begin their journey. Will this generation of freshmen be the ones who rebirth our school? Will they be the ones to pull us out from the slump of covid and fill our clubs, and therefore our community, with the much needed young blood that is necessary to breed opportunity and life? Only time will tell, but it is hard to not feel optimistic. 

Winchester is back! I thought to myself on the way home from school that day. Life will once again enter the rhythmic pattern that operated so seamlessly my freshman year. The halls will be filled with the buzz of underclassmen chatter. The tables will be occupied by students working on homework, or simply sitting and conversing with friends. Clubs will fill room after room, throwing parties and events. Covid has muted all of that. Snuffed it out like the flame of a candle. Did it ever even exist? Or did we all just imagine it as some collective hallucination our brains imagined to get us through two years of covid?

Though covid still lingers like a cold (literally) you can never seem to shake, this year feels hopeful. Maybe it is because a new life lies ahead of me on the horizon (college, eek), but I think that this optimistic feeling has pervaded all of us here in the High School. When I asked a sophomore if they felt something was different this year, they answered with “Yeah, I guess so. I’m not laying in bed doing zoom all day, so I guess that’s an improvement.” So, I feel safe in saying that I am not walking this path of positivity alone. The changes I have felt in the walls of our school are truly happening, not just the hopeful wishes of a mind eager to return to the eight months of normal high school I had, which now feel like they happened a decade ago. 

Regardless, maybe we never need to return to those days. Maybe we are better off carving a new unique path that has never been followed by this high school before. We sit at a fork in the road, both representing paths forward. Do we follow the path we (meaning the seniors and faculty) know well enough having lived it before? Do we allow ourselves to lapse into the comfort of the past? Or do we push forward? Carve this new path? Forge new traditions and new ideals. I’m not sure the answer lies with the Seniors, but instead it likely sits with the underclassmen – those freshmen so eager to join clubs and activities. They are the ones who will choose our new path. It is up to them to form a new Winchester, one that has moved beyond its covid years, and has entered a new era of community, which will stand in complete distinction from the loss of community we have experienced in recent years. So, which path will they choose? Only time will tell.