By JENNIFER OSBORN
It goes without saying that the 2020-21 school year has been like no other in our lifetime. While it was not the year the class of 2021 would have expected when they started high school, they are finding ways to celebrate and make the most of the end of their high school careers. Much credit can be given to their Grade Level Team — grade level principal Elena Smith, counselor Arica Villegas, academic advisor Gillian Morgan and administrative assistant Sara Brown — who have worked tirelessly to plan events to bring the students together and make memories as a class.
While brainstorming ideas for student activities, Villegas almost jokingly expressed to Helix High School Foundation board member Judy Kirk her wish to have a parade through the streets of La Mesa. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Kirk’s wheels began turning. After a few iterations that weren’t feasible, discussions between Kirk, the Grade Level Team, and Helix alumnus and La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis (class of 1985), resulted in the Class of 2021 Car Cruise, which took place on May 23.
Students convened in the La Mesa Community Center parking lots as a staging area to decorate their cars and line up for the drive. Led by Arapostathis in his golf cart, students followed the route through the streets of the La Mesa Village, waving to family, staff, and alumni who lined the sidewalks to cheer on the soon-to-be graduates.
Seniors will participate in commencement ceremonies on Thursday, June 3 on Jim Arnaiz Field at Benton Hart Stadium. It will be a full in-person ceremony, with limited attendance and COVID safety measures in place. Approximately 500 students will graduate in the Helix class of 2021.
Sports wrap up
While the final sports seasons are still wrapping up, many of the teams enjoyed great success in an abbreviated year. The following is current as of the time of writing:
The boys’ golf team finished the season as League Champions, and earned an automatic berth in the CIF playoffs, which will begin between June 1 and 3.
The girl’s soccer team advanced to the CIF DI Semifinals as they topped Canyon Crest by the score of 2-0. They were scheduled to play the next round on May 25.
The boy’s soccer team lost to Poway, 2-1 in the CIF quarterfinals ending their season.
The girl’s lacrosse team was seeded 10th in the CIF DI Playoffs and were to begin tournament play May 25 at Mission Hills High School.
The boy’s volleyball team was seeded fourth in the CIF playoffs. They were to begin tournament play on May 29.
Other sports are still in progress, and playoffs will take place after Helix’s graduation date.
Speech & Debate Championships
The Helix Speech & Debate team made a splash at the California High School Speech Association, finishing 17th out of more than 150 schools statewide. Individual accomplishments include:
Grace Roche and Rachael Sharp: State champions in Duo Interpretation – 56 competitors (112 teams competed statewide to qualify)
Lucas Osborn: 10th place in Student Congress – 88 competitors (435 students competed statewide to qualify)
Ruby Anderson: Semifinalist in Dramatic Interpretation – 14th of 56 competitors (229 students competed statewide to qualify)
Jeremy Potter: Semifinalist in Student Congress – 17th of 88 competitors (435 students competed statewide to qualify)
— Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.
Source: La Mesa Currier