Provided by BVH ASB YouTube
Laughs and cheers flooded as students gathered for seasonal assemblies in the gym. Whether it be the grade level chants, karaoke by grade or the various dances on stage, Bonita Vista High (BVH) assemblies fostered a warm and welcoming environment. However, the joy of these assemblies were soon replaced with silence as COVID-19 made its debut. Due to distance learning, the majority of students and staff cannot safely visit campus, though this didn’t place a blockade on the school’s spirit as the Associated Student Body (ASB) continues to hold assemblies virtually on YouTube.
“At first, I didn’t expect assemblies to [continue] considering everyone was at home. I didn’t see a [purpose] for them, but [the assemblies] turned out well,” ASB Spirit Commissioner and senior Kelsey Brito said. “We wanted to give students an opportunity to be more involved while they’re at home.”
According to ASB President and senior Nicole Hill, it took the ASB months to decide what they wanted to do for virtual assembly videos. A goal of the ASB was to make the 30 minute video entertaining to both staff and students.
“During distance learning assemblies, we often start with a theme and a group of performers. Typically, the officers come up with a few themes and present them to the rest of ASB. If no one seems to like them, they offer their suggestions and we come to a consensus,” Hill said.
After discussing their theme, the ASB determines which performances to include in the assembly. Whether that be having the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) groups perform or a regular assembly with music, sports, teachers and students participating in different games.
“The officers who are in charge of the [ASB] Google Drive will have our folders set up for us. For every assembly, we get our assignments, film the videos, get whatever we need, drop them into the folder and tech will put them together and edit them,” Brito said.
Since it is difficult to physically meet due to the pandemic, the ASB uses a group chat to communicate with its participants. In the group chat, the officers communicate with the rest of the ASB and inform them on what will be included in the assembly and answer any lingering questions. Hill stresses that communication is important in the ASB as they work in small groups.
“Our assemblies are always really creative, so that way it [can] be something that everyone wants to do. We don’t want to stick to things that are so repetitive. We always liked to do things that are new to students,” Brito said.
Hill expresses that the ASB takes inspiration from assemblies prior to the pandemic and take into account what can be recreated virtually and catch the attention of staff and students.
“Creating the videos beforehand, we always have to think about what [goes into the assembly and follow] our plan set. Then, we have to get everything ready for it [and] eventually film it. Creating these videos isn’t just a one day process. It’s really complex,” Brito said.
According to Hill, filming takes around six hours and editing is around 12 hours in total. The ASB’s Technology Commissioners, Michael Dimapilis, Waverly Lester, Kyle Santacruz and Pablo Shimizu are the students that put these assemblies together in video form.
Due to the limits of distance learning and students and staff having differing activities to attend to, ASB members have noticed there has been less student involvement and viewing of the assemblies.
“[Recently], we had a scavenger hunt at the beginning of distance learning.
Conversely, Brito finds that hosting assemblies online comes with benefits due to its accessibility. She adds that in school assemblies had limited seating and prevented the entire school from watching, however, on YouTube, everyone has access to it.
“I think [there is a benefit with the assembly online], in school, the space to view the assemblies was limited; [therefore], not everyone had the chance to see it. However, [hosting] the video online is [advantageous] because everyone has access to it,” Brito said.
Not only can everyone watch the assembly, but students and staff are also able to look back at the videos later on in the year. Hill adds that the virtual assemblies allow other groups such as Drama, Mariachi and Band to be included as well when previously it was uncommon.
“This year is so far from a regular ASB; the experience I am going through right now was something I would have never predicted while running for president. We have attempted to divert our school spirit and unity through virtual learning but it is quite limited due to the platforms students do and don’t use,” Hill said.