2021 Winter Carnival injected some much-needed levity into the 2020-21 school year.

During the week before February vacation, Lincoln Academy students typically spend afternoons crowded into the gym to cheer on classmates in games like dodgeball, volleyball, quiz bowl, and the obstacle course. LA Winter Carnival has been going on since 1966, according to LA Assistant Athletic Director Phil Page, the spirit leader of Winter Carnival and keeper of LA traditions. But like so much else this year, most of these activities are not possible in 2021, including crowds, cheering, and hugging, not to mention up-close-and-personal games like the class yell, class sit, three-legged races, and tug of war.

Freshmen working on their snow sculpture for 2021 LA Winter Carnival (photo by Bella Hanna)

Freshmen working on their snow sculpture for 2021 LA Winter Carnival (photo by Bella Hanna ’22)

To preserve tradition and bring some laughter to a challenging school year, the LA student council decided to adapt Winter Carnival to fit within the pandemic safety rules that dictate current school activities.

“Student council was incredibly creative in thinking through which Winter Carnival traditions we could keep, which we could adapt, and which we could let go for a year,” said Stephanie Cheney, LA Academic Technology Coordinator, who is the faculty advisor for student council. “It was important to keep the spirit alive while also making sure everyone stayed safe.”

Students came up with events that accommodated social distancing and the current hybrid schedule, in which only half of the LA student body is on campus at a time. For example, activities and dress ups that happened on Monday with Group One were repeated on Tuesday with Group Two, so each group got to earn points for their class. No spectators were allowed, and some events were livestreamed on the LA Facebook page.

Quiz bowl contestants, ready for socially-distanced action

Quiz bowl contestants, ready for socially-distanced action

“We knew we would have to get creative with Winter Carnival this year,” said senior class president Scott Petersen. “With the hard work and cooperation of both staff and student council, we were able to keep campus traditions alive. Students were able to watch the quiz bowl live, participate in trivia online, and dress up in fun outfits, all in ways that allowed them to enjoy the festivities in person or from home. Although things might have been a bit different this year, I’m proud of the hard work we put in to make Winter Carnival fun.”

“We adapted our normal activities and added some new ones too, such as bingo during lunch, said student council vice president Addie Brinkler. “Students and faculty were quick to adapt and it was a success! We were prepared to have a fully virtual Winter Carnival if the situation arose, but thanks to the diligence and support of our community, we were able to have the events be hybrid. We are hopeful for next year, but at least now we know it can work in hybrid if necessary!”

Junior class president Will Sherrill said, “This year’s Winter Carnival was very different compared to the past. Student council, and the student body as a whole, did an amazing job at planning, preparing, and participating in the events. We were able to incorporate some unique ideas, such as holding multiple events at once and doubling up on dress-up days to maximize participation. Overall, I think that Winter Carnival went as smoothly as possible for such a different year.”

2021 events included the traditional obstacle course and quiz bowl in the gym, dodgeball and kickball on the upper field, corn hole in ATEC, school-wide bingo over the intercom, virtual trivia, and a door-decorating contest, in addition to dress-up days.

Tropical dress, take 2

Tropical dress, 2021 style

Sophomore class president Izzy Petersen said, “I think that Winter Carnival was one of the first times that I’ve really felt that sense of normalcy in school all year. We started planning in student council about a month in advance. We would spend two days a week discussing how to organize the events to make it happen in a way that was safe but still accessible to everyone in the Lincoln Academy community. By the end of the week, we not only saw a large amount of participation within the student body, but I also noticed a level of excitement throughout the school community that I haven’t seen this year.”

“Student council worked really hard to bring the element of fun that people love about Winter Carnival,” said Ms. Cheney. “We moved events around campus so as many students as possible could participate–and they did! People dressed up, and there was lots of laughter throughout the week. Being able to livestream the events meant students could participate on their virtual days, and also opened up the events for parents and alumni to see, and they loved it–we may have to livestream in the future!”

“I love to see students and faculty working together, and you don’t see that anytime more than at Winter Carnival,” said Mr. Page. “Even this year, though things were different, we saw that happen during the week. The classes and teachers really came together to celebrate.”

More 2021 Winter Carnival photos can be found on the LA Flickr page.