GUSTINE - The ASB student leadership team at Gustine High is adapting to the challenge of boosting school spirit while not at school - at least not in the traditional sense.

In the age of distance learning and uncertainty about how long it will be before students can return to the classroom, the ASB officers are using social media and virtual activities to promote school spirit.

“The goal for this year is obviously to go back to school,” said junior Daniel Gomes, ASB president. “Right now we are having virtual activities and rallies to keep everyone connected. We want to keep the school spirit alive,” Gomes explained.

The ASB team and leadership class, which meets via Zoom, is using instagram and Facebook extensively to hold virtual activities and rallies, Gomes explained.

“Everyone has a cell phone,” he noted, “and they are always on instagram and Facebook.”

Gomes said the pandemic has deprived students of a number of traditional experiences, which the ASB group hopes to recreate when students can return to campus.

For example, Gomes said, a week of homecoming activities will be held and some sort of freshman welcome is planned as the traditional eighth-grade day did not take place last spring.

The freshmen, he pointed out, have begun their high school studies without being able to experience the campus environment.

“Homecoming is tradition, and the eighth-grade day is a big thing,” Gomes explained. “We want to be able to offer those experiences.”

Senior Lalanie Brace is the ASB vice president this year.

She said the officer team has worked to maintain a positive tone despite the challenges of not being on campus.

“We still had our ASB retreat on Zoom. We got to talk about the ideas we had and the goals we set,” Brace commented. “We decided that we would just try to do everything virtually, and keep everything positive. If we didn’t get to go back to school, we wanted to keep (our school spirit). We want to keep sending out positive messages to the students.”

Gomes and Brace said that the ASB is working toward that goal in numerous ways.

Weekly announcements are sent out each Monday, virtual rallies have been held and events such as dress-up days have been held via social media.

“I am really hoping that we get back to school so the freshmen get that on-campus experience and our seniors get the homecoming rally,” Brace reflected. “If we don’t, we will keep doing what we’re doing. We are doing pretty well for having had everything changed on us.”

And, Gomes said, the group has a slogan which reflects both the challenging times and the desire to return to school: “Wear a mask so that we can be #together again.”