By Eric Erickson
After more than a year of distance learning, optional in-person attendance last spring and a long summer break; Como Park High School students returned to live, in-school instruction on Sept. 9.
Despite the St. Paul School District’s late cancellation of bus transportation for Como students due to a driver shortage, schoolwide attendance figures averaged around 88 percent for the first week.
Students found ways to attend classes at Como despite the challenges and frustrations that faced some families as they navigated new transportation routines including improved traffic flow for parent drop-offs and using Metro Transit bus routes.
The return to in-person classes (even while students are required to wear masks) has been welcomed by students and teachers alike. The positive energy and human interaction of a full classroom had been missing from our lives more than many of us realized.
“Having everyone together back in person feels good and the classes are way more involved.” senior Peter Wenger said. “School on a screen was really hard.”
Seniors Damian Perryman and Garret Wiersma echoed that sentiment too, expressing gratitude for socializing and structure.
“Seeing all your friends, being able to say ‘hi’ to people in the halls and being able to think and work together in class is great,” Perryman said.
“It makes you feel like you have something to wake up for. It’s nice to have the structure,” Wiersma said.
Top honors for JROTC student
Cadet Major Aliser Paw received the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross, the most prestigious award a cadet of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps can earn. Only six cadets across the world in more than 241 Marine Corps JROTC programs are selected.
Prerequisites for the Bronze Cross include consistent demonstration of military scholarship, community service, extra-curricular activities, discipline, courtesy, outstanding character, academic grades and class rank (Paw’s weighted GPA is 4.3).
There will be a formal ceremony in the Como auditorium for Paw later this school year.
State Fair sanitation crew
Cadets from Como’s JROTC volunteered for seven days at the Minnesota State Fair to help keep the grounds clean and orderly.
Approximately 35 cadets worked each day, putting in 12-hour shifts by emptying trash cans and hauling out carts of garbage. Their labor served as a fundraiser for the program and continued a 20-year relationship with the fair.
Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School and a regular freelance contributor to the Bugle.