Principal Tom Harmas (third from right) holds a plaque for senior Sarah Konrad (fourth from right) at the Top Scholar Recognition Ceremony on April 19. Harmas said he is glad to have the opportunity to recognize seniors, even if these events have to be modified to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines.

Rhea Acharya

Principal Tom Harmas said one of his current priorities is honoring students and staff members through end-of-year celebrations, although these events will take place in an untraditional way due to COVID-19.

He said, “We call May the month of celebration. We had a Distinguished Graduate award presentation, a Top Scholars Banquet, and we are going to be doing a recognition ceremony for clubs as well as for each department’s chosen outstanding senior. We are still planning for graduation, and it was nice that we were able to move from two guests to four guests per student for graduation.”

According to Harmas, even though it has taken more effort to organize these events this year, he thinks that it will be worth it.

“Everybody will be able to walk across the stage. Everyone will get their picture taken,” Harmas said. “And for (students and parents), it will only be an hour and a half out of their day. For (those running the ceremony), it will be 12 or 13 hours. But that’s ok. I think our seniors and our parents deserve this, and I’m more than happy to make sure we do it and we do it well.”

Harmas said one area of concern he has had is planning for the end-of-year Teacher’s Breakfast as well as the recognition ceremony for retiring teachers. He said this normally takes place on the last Teacher Day, which is May 27 this year. However, he said that graduation will now be happening all day on May 27, so he is looking into other options for how to recognize the teachers, including doing a breakfast before school or during a Late Start.

He said, “We have three people that are retiring, so we want to make sure that we can honor them well. That’s one of those things that kind of worries me at the back of my mind just because these people have worked at CHS for a long time and deserve the best… I want to make sure that we have the opportunity to allow them to feel special.”

Senior Maylee O’Brien said she appreciates the hard work administration has put into making this year special for the seniors despite the pandemic, and she said she is looking forward to the upcoming events.

O’Brien said, “I’m happy with the way administration has handled end-of-year celebrations. After a year of virtual events, I’m excited for our in-person prom and graduation. While these events can’t be ideal (because of the pandemic), I think they are the best they can be.”

Ultimately, Harmas said he thinks that the pandemic has made people more excited for these events than they would have been in previous years.

He said, “I think we’ve learned through this pandemic to appreciate the little things much more than we have before. You know, we took so much for granted, and it really has changed the lens that we’ve really been seeing our world in.”