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NHS students face non-athletic event cancellations due to COVID-19


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Robotics competitions have been one of the many casualties of coronavirus restrictions.

The empty parking lot at Niwot High School is more than the result of a much-needed Spring Break. School closures have forced sports, clubs and all extracurriculars to hit the pause button for the sake of public health in light of COVID-19.

While time off from classes may seem like every high schooler's dream, these cancellations have caused upset among students who have been working hard all year. Among these cancellations are the Band Spectacle concert, Choir/Orchestra concerts, Mock Trial State competition, Robotics competition, and many other anticipated events.

Niwot's theatre department was able to perform its production of The Addams Family only a week before closures began. The students involved in this amazing production were able to perform the show that they had put a tremendous amount of time and effort into. Students who had events scheduled in late March were not so lucky.

Sophomore Lily Mastrangelo is among those who were unable to compete in long-awaited events. She and her eight team members were devastated when Mock Trial's State competition was canceled less than 24 hours in advance.

Those organizing the competition set precautions early on in light of growing concern for the spread of COVID-19. Originally meant to represent a formal court setting, students would no longer be allowed to shake hands and would not be able to congregate in the same lobby.

The state competition this year was highly anticipated by students and teachers alike. The team overcame many obstacles during the season, and students were more than ready to compete. With only nine team members on the roster instead of the typical 12, they had students working overtime to prepare, which did not pay off in the end.

"Our team had gone through so many hardships that we were disappointed when we couldn't go," Mastrangelo said. Students involved were looking forward to competing with Fairview and Boulder, which were Niwot's toughest competition.

Another team that suffered frustrating cancellations was Niwot's Robotics Team, but they were lucky to be able to attend a two-week event before the shutdown began. They are one of the nearly 4,000 teams around the world that have been building a robot to compete in numerous challenges. Many of these competitions were set to happen in the weeks during and after school activities were canceled.

A member of the team, Ashley Withnell, said, "[L]ots of time and effort (at least 50 hours per student) were put into a robot that, in some cases, didn't get to compete." This was the most disappointing for students, as many were not able to be rewarded for their hard work over the past semester.

As the state of the nation during the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the weeks following these cancellations, many students were sympathetic to the gravity of the situation at hand. Two weeks removed, Mastrangelo describes her view on the Mock Trial cancellation as "for the greater good." As much as students wanted to participate in these long-anticipated events, sometimes unforeseen circumstances take priority.


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