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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Parents Seek to Brighten Senior Year at KPHS Warrior Mayhem ’21 Brings Class Together

Decorating Committee. From left, Jen Dowling, Diana LaPointe, Kristen Schneider, and Jen Pacheco.

By Grace Allen

So many aspects of the typical high school experience have been a no-go for the Class of 2021. The students were juniors when the lockdowns began in March of 2020, so junior prom was cancelled as schools went remote. When the students became seniors, events like homecoming, pep rallies, and sports banquets honoring senior athletes were cancelled or seriously curtailed. Senior prom, if it happens, will have to be reimagined, along with graduation. 
But a group of parents decided to take matters into their own hands. With the support of the school administration, the group known as KP Senior Spirit 2021 has taken on the task of supporting and creating memories for the Class of 2021. The parent group has been behind most of the events that have tried to unify this class of students despite the disruptions and uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Several of the group’s activities occurred out of school, explained Tara Spellman, one of the parent organizers behind KP Senior Spirit 2021. In the fall, the parents put together Halloween treat bags and headed out in the dark of night to deliver the bags to the homes of every senior student.
“It was a grass-roots effort,” said Spellman, who is also an advisor for the school’s Leo Club, a community-service group. “It was under the radar and involved a lot of people finding out names, addresses, and driving around to drop off the bags.”
After the new year, the group did something similar, this time dropping off bags with notes of hope and encouragement along with more goodies. And in February, the parent group held a fundraiser, Snowball of Support, to raise money for class events optimistically planned for the spring.

 KP Senior Spirit 2021 Parent Committee. From left, Sue Brooks, Tara Spellman, Rachael Cochran, and Tracy Molloy. Missing is Kendra Kannally.

“Warrior Mayhem ’21” was one of those events. Held over a month ago on a Wednesday, the activity-filled day for seniors included games, friendly competitions, and group activities. It was the first time the students had been together as a class since March 13, 2020. Students were separated into pods of 14 or fewer, and COVID protocols were in place to keep everyone safe. 
Over 100 parent volunteers were needed to decorate the school, supervise the students, and run the games. Close to $4,000 in cash and prizes were awarded throughout the day, the result of fundraisers like Snowball of Support as well as generous donations by the community.
The day started with an all-class Musical Bingo in the field house, and then the pods fanned out into separate classrooms throughout the empty school for group games.
An ice-breaker activity dubbed “The Toilet Paper Game” was especially poignant, noted Spellman. The students were handed a roll of toilet paper and told to take however many sheets they needed. After the toilet paper was distributed, the students were asked to write down a silver lining of the pandemic on each sheet.
The responses included appreciation for new-found family time, learning to read for fun, enjoying nature, and realizing the importance of mental health and relaxation.
“We thought it would be a good window into how they were feeling and what they’ve gone through, and the responses were amazing,” said Spellman. “There was a lot of self-awareness that’s starting to bubble up as we are hopefully getting to the other side of this pandemic.”
Students were sent challenges before the day of the event, so pods could choose to participate in Best Costume, Team Name, and Team Song contests. Another challenge was to create birthday packs for local food pantries as a way to give back to the community.
Judges for several of the competitions included senior class teachers and members of the high school administration. 
“The school administration was fantastic,” acknowledged Spellman. “Everyone, including the facilities director, was instrumental in helping us pull this off. We couldn’t have done it without them. They wanted to celebrate the kids as much as we did.”
At noon, wearing t-shirts designed for the event, the students assembled outside on the turf field for a class photo taken by a drone. The t-shirts were designed by the parent of a senior and sponsored by the Norfolk and Wrentham Lions Clubs and the Holly Club of Wrentham.
“It was a wonderful, all-inclusive day for everyone,” said Spellman. “It was incredible to finally see the kids all together, cheering each other on, laughing and having fun.”
Many of the craft supplies used for the day’s activities were donated afterwards to the elementary schools in the tri-town district.