Against All (COVID) Odds

Against All (COVID) Odds

Abby MacAllister

In the fall of 2021, three students at Tewksbury Memorial High School have grown determined to hold the school’s business club’s, DECA’s, annual Fashion Show. Students Domenic Valway, Isabelle Carleton and I, are doing their best to put together the show in honor of a young girl named Meghan McCarthy, a previous student at the school. Against all (COVID) odds, these students have surged forward with a solid proposal they will be presenting to the school’s principal and the leading DECA director and DECA president, Mr. James Sullivan and student Mihir Bagul.

To say that Meghan was simply a student at TMHS would be incorrect – she was so much more. A proud member of the field hockey team, an extremely intelligent pupil in each class she took, a competitive DECA member, a loving daughter, and an overall joyful and determined individual who left one of the greatest memories this town has ever had the honor of remembering, Meghan did not let a brain tumor change her positive outlook and mindset as she suffered from it. This description fails to do Meghan justice, you’d have to talk to her mother, Mr. Sullivan, or family to achieve a real understanding of how absolutely amazing and genuine of a person she was. The phrase, “Have Faith Expect Miracles,” coined from Meghan’s memory and this yearly show, has been a vital motivator behind mine, Domenic, and Isabelle’s determination to successfully host the fashion show this year while abiding by Massachusetts’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Though there have been a multitude of guidelines imposed on MA residents to keep people as safe as possible from the Coronavirus since March of this year, these students have developed what seems to be an incredibly solid method of action for how they will be executing this year’s show. Some of the students’ ideas include that masks will be necessary for admission, the show may have to take place over two dates due to limited capacity because of COVID’s six-foot social distancing requirement, and the school’s cafeteria, gymnasium, and large instruction classrooms may be opened to the audience (compared to the normal strictly auditorium setting for the show) to allow for more in-person viewers to come to TMHS to watch the fashion show. Tewksbury’s 2019 alumni, Jake Kaiser, has given me his opinion regarding the student’s ideas and the show running under COVID rules. Jake stated, “The show can definitely be run, but Abby, Izzie, and Dom will have to make sure social distancing is possible throughout the school while the show takes place, and a major concern is people infecting the school with potential COVID germs while they sit and watch the show.” Taking into consideration his thoughts about the incoming audience and the dangers these people will pose to the students and staff at TMHS has posed another obstacle for the three leaders of the show to tackle: how they will make sure the school and utilized spaces the audience is in will be disinfected to ensure safety from Corona to the faculty and everyday students there.

The coordinators of the show have had multiple discussions with the club’s president, Mihir B., about the show’s potential dangers and risks posed while introducing large crowds to the school setting. To decrease the odds of Corona being spread and lingering in the TMHS school environment, Mihir and myself have been working on devising a concrete plan to propose for approval by the school’s principal, Mr. Bernard, that includes and abides by the guidelines COVID-19 requires. Another suggested idea from me is that we propose a plan that incorporates a one-way walking path through the school’s auditorium, cafeteria, large group instruction rooms, and gymnasium to minimize people being close to each other while maximizing the amount of people that can be admitted to the show if the crowd moves one way and is spread apart. These ideas are not solid, but they clearly show that the leaders of DECA and specifically the fashion show coordinators have been thinking hard outside the box and working diligently to host this year’s event.

As I mentioned above, the phrase, “Have Faith Expect Miracles,” has been a driving force behind Domenic’s, Isabelle’s, and my efforts to find a way to have the fashion show take place in person at TMHS. Meghan McCarthy was diagnosed with a brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme in June of her Freshman year at TMHS. While doing her best to fight her diagnosis, Meghan constantly had a smile on her face and the most enthusiastic personality one could encounter. Active throughout her high school career in Track & Field, a captain of the field hockey team, an outstanding member of DECA, and maintaining excellent grades throughout her battle, Meghan is a hero to every student that has had the honor of walking the halls of TMHS where this outstanding individual also did.​ Being the talented, beautiful, hard-working, and striking individual that she was, Meghan has left a memory engraved in each TMHS student, field hockey member, and DECA participant that will forever be remembered. She has inspired us to do absolutely anything and nothing less than everything possible to put together this year’s show – our COVID guideline obstacle does not come close to ever comparing to the battle Meghan endured and fought. If she could do that all that she did with a smile on her face while going through an unimaginable struggle such as the one she did, the leaders of this year’s fashion show are determined to do nothing less than everything in our power to honor Meghan and her amazing qualities of determination and joy, and host the show while overcoming each Corona restriction thrown at us.