Mr. Gaffney shows support during COVID-19


Pete Gaffney

Principal Pete Gaffney shows his support by wearing a WSHS weightlifting polo shirt.

Allie Nichols, Copy Editor

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Due to the Coronavirus, school was postponed after Spring Break and was ultimately shut down for the rest of the year. This fact did not stop Principal Pete Gaffney from continuing to show school spirit and engage with his students. For the first week of quarantine- March 23 through March 27- Mr. Gaffney presented “Social Media Week” on his Instagram (@papagaff_wshs) and even partook in some of the fun. This virtual spirit week encouraged students to do cartwheels, do trickshots, “hit the woah,” make Tik Toks, and show off hidden talents. 

Randy McLaughlin, a senior, believes school spirit keeps everything fun. “Some get so bummed out about life, but having school spirit helps push all that to the side by bonding us with our fellow bears.” McLaughlin himself participated because “I was sad that the senior week events got cancelled, and this was something fun I could do with my friends to make up for it. Plus I wanted to show school spirit. Go bears!” 

Junior Hannah Smith speculates that “It is important to continue [to show] school spirit because during this time of crisis and pain felt throughout the entire globe, maintaining some form of normalcy is comforting for many. I participate not only to do my part as a cheerleader but also to ensure that the ‘bear family’ bond stays strong, on and off campus.”

Halle McWilliams also chose to show her school spirit because she wanted to share fun moments with her teammates and explained, “School spirit is important because we need to unite in some way and show that there are still ways that we can be happy!” She continued, “It is just so good to see that we can still show our love and  support for our school, even if it is just through social media.”

The Hunnybears performed and incorporated their skills in the events as well. Senior dancer Juliana Boardman shared her school spirit and feels that “it is important, especially now, in order to create a sense of community and support. We are all going through these strange times, and it is comforting to know that we can still be together as a school.” 

Mr. Gaffney continues to promote school spirit on his Instagram. On April 6, he celebrated national assistant principal’s week (SAMs and Dean also included as well) by thanking Mrs. Bowman, Mr. Clark, Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Druas, Mr. Hasselbart, Mr. Hunter, and Mr. Jarzynka and posting a collage of photos of each person with a positive message. On May 5, Mr. Gaffney celebrated the teachers and staff through a virtual meeting and even sent a Huey Magoo’s meal to each of them. 

One can also see him wearing different WSHS T-Shirts for groups and clubs around the school. As of May 10, he’s been spotted wearing shirts supporting ASL, the Gospel Choir, the Band of Gold, the Hunnybears, the Athletic Department, the Theatre Department, the wrestling team, the cross country team, Rho Kappa, and the volleyball, lacrosse, softball, golf, and weightlifting teams.

Some specific students have been spotlighted on his account. Mr. Gaffney congratulated Christy D’Souza for “gracing the cover of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Life Magazine in the March/April edition.” Caitlin Conant was praised for receiving her IB Diploma after working very hard, and Varsity Volleyball player Hope Matschner was highlighted for being accepted to Iona University.

One of Papa Gaff’s most notable shows of support was directed at the seniors. On Monday, April 20 2020, at 8:20 p.m. (20:20), all of the campus lights were turned on for exactly 20 minutes and 20 seconds. Mr. Gaffney posted an aerial view of the brightly lit school along with some close ups and captioned it: “WSHS Lights on for the Class of 2020! To our Senior Class: This night was to celebrate and honor all of you! Not the Senior traditions you planned for, but some unique memories that you can take with you the rest of your life! GO BEARS!” 

Mr. Gaffney will keep informing and updating students, teachers, and parents about AP exams, refunds, graduation, and distance learning through his social media and emails. All in all, it appears that nothing can stop Principal Gaffney from keeping us in the know, supporting our school, and exemplifying school spirit.