Since March 2020, online schooling at Mililani High School (MHS) has pressed pause on activities that used to be characteristic of a normal high school experience or changed them significantly, such as prom, senior luau, homecoming, and graduation. The Associated Students of Mililani High School (ASMHS) for the 2020-2021 school year faced the challenge of adapting these activities and creating new ones to give students opportunities to be involved despite COVID-19.
“That means a lot to us, when people participate. It’s just like the best thing that someone can do,” said ASMHS President Senior Angelina Betie Dulay.
In addition to having virtual assemblies for the first time, ASMHS began the brand new activity of WOW Weeks, which were similar to the spirit weeks they used to hold in a normal school year. These WOW Weeks took place on the first and last weeks of every quarter and had a specific theme, such as “Week of Wellness” and “Week of Winter.” The first WOW Week focused on mental and physical health, and “Week of Winter” was similar to a winter spirit week with dress-up days. ASMHS plans to continue this activity for the fourth quarter as well.
“That’s all we like to think: even though it’s virtual and a lot of stuff you can’t do, we like to think of it as new opportunities, and try to find new activities and stuff we can do at the school,” said ASMHS Recording Secretary Junior Caleb Beeler.
These new ideas were brainstormed by the class councils and ASMHS through their numerous meetings. Both the ASMHS student body council meetings and the all-council executive (ACE) meetings were held on Webex, a video-conferencing service. However, in order to foster more active and engaging discussions, the executive officers had in-person meetings that were social-distanced and with masks on at the New Lanai or the cafeteria at MHS. These executive officer meetings would take place every week, with ACE meetings every month.
“I’m very proud of our student council and our clubs for being super adaptable. Like, I know there’s moments when we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. Covid.’ It’s like this big elephant in the room. But I’m super proud of each and every person because they are working extra hard,” said Dulay.
ASMHS would also be able to plan activities in their Leadership class, which is taught by MHS Student Activities Coordinator Janet Ward-Riehle. In-class time was spent on planning upcoming events, but also leadership development. In addition to the hands-on experience the officers were getting through organizing activities, the class gave coursework that included assigned reads, such as Action-Packed Leadership by Kyle Willkom, a book focused on empowering high school students in leadership. Students in Leadership class were also able to listen to a Board of Education meeting, as well as other activities to aid in leadership training.
“I think the experience is obviously gonna be more valuable. You can’t really learn to do something without doing it. But the book. We read a book that had some great insights that in a way made you think about ways to improve as a leader,” said Beeler.
This is Beeler’s first year in ASMHS. Dulay first joined ASMHS in her junior year as Recording Secretary after initially wanting to be a council member. Now, she holds multiple positions in addition to being President, such as the HSSC Hawaii State Student Council (HSSC) Communications Secretary, the student representative for the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) and School Community Council (SCC), and Homecoming Chairperson.
“I think my favorite part is the relationships that I’ve been making, ‘cause I wouldn’t know that I would like be able to talk to Mr. Murphy and all the teachers that I’ve gotten close with and I created new relationships with like people from different parts of the campus,” said Dulay.
ASMHS is currently planning Homecoming, as well as other events for the second semester, such as more sign-waving events like the ones held for World Kindness Day and the holidays. Their Instagram account @mililani_hs_student_activites posts updates and announcements for events and activities.