Mamaroneck High School Culture Shifts in 2020

How Mamaroneck High School has changed since going to a hybrid.


Photo Courtesy Daila Vivolo

Students work in the library masked and socially distant.

Tista Goswami, Features Page Director

Before March, there was never a time during the day when the halls of MHS were not overflowing with energy. During their free time, students would gather in any available corner simply to enjoy the company of others. During the lunch period, groups of students would spread out on the floors to eat and enjoy a well-deserved break. The constant chatter of students remained long after the ringing of the bell. This chatter traveled to local hotspots, such as Starbucks or the Village Deli, where students could spend their time if they wanted to get out of the confines of the school building.

During a time of social distance, this isn’t what MHS looks like nor feels like. In order to address the current dangers that are a result of the pandemic, the administration took necessary measures to ensure the safety of students. Many of these measures have led to drastic cultural shifts in the way MHS runs and what most students are used to.

A unique characteristic of the MHS community is the open campus. In previous years, students enjoyed the freedom of entering and exiting the school building as they pleased throughout the day. Whether it be to go to lunch at Walter’s or to head home early, the open campus was a privilege every student of MHS appreciated. This year, however, that freedom has been removed. By enforcing a closed campus, the administration is able to regulate how many students are in the building at a given time in order to prevent social distancing violations. 

To avoid students unnecessarily lurking and gathering in the halls, as some are used to, the administration introduced “study hall.” Rather than a traditional free period, in which students could spend their time doing whatever they pleased wherever they wanted, students are required to be present in the library, where “attendance” will be taken upon entrance. During this time, students can work on whatever they want, but are required to follow social distancing policies. “I definitely miss the traditional frees because I miss having the freedom to leave campus and take a break from the school,” says Carrie Karten (‘22) “ But, I understand why they changed it so that study hall is mandatory…I think it’s just another way to try and have a better control over limiting the spread of the virus.” 

This experience certainly wasn’t what any student was expecting, for freshmen in particular. As MHS is a drastically different environment than the Hommocks, students brought on entering the high school as a welcomed change. “I was very excited to leave Hommocks and come to the high school…not only does the high school provide an appealing challenge, but it provides many other options, activities, clubs, etc,” says Joe Rob O’Hagan (‘24). Despite this common excitement, many of the opportunities that one would look forward to upon entering the high school have been removed for the time being. “While I am very disappointed about missing the traditional high school experience, at least the most sought after perks, such as frees and open campus, I think the systems created make the best out of a bad situation,” Robb O’Hagan continues.

On the other end of MHS, the seniors have begun what will surely be a memorable year. MHS has loads of annual traditions, many of which this year’s seniors will not be able to experience their “last” of. Trudy Marszalek (‘21) says, “It’s definitely pretty heartbreaking, as I was looking forward to countless things that I would be able to do as a senior.” Marzalek adds, “I was so excited for battle of the classes, driving around with my friends during free periods, and everything like that.” 

As expected, the 2020-2021 school year has brought on innumerable changes to the way MHS runs. Although these changes are unparalleled, the MHS community seems to be taking in these necessary changes one step at a time, while also trying to establish a new, modified spirit reminiscent of past years.