2019-2020 Year in Review


Credit: Caterina Tomassini

In light of the end of the academic year, managing editor Caterina Tomassini reviews the last 10 months students of WHS have spent together, including dozens of articles, galleries, podcasts and videos from WSPN.

Caterina Tomassini

With the 2019-2020 school year coming to an end, it’s important that we look back at our months together and reflect what we, as both a school and a larger community, have accomplished. Although the outbreak of COVID-19 forced Wayland High School to close in early March, we have still accomplished so much and have managed to enjoy the last quarter of our year together.


The 2019-2020 school year started with an abundance of new changes, including an 8:35 a.m. start time—different from the 7:35 a.m. start time from all previous years— daily seven minute advisories, a three phase renovation to the tennis, softball, and football fields, and two new assistant principals: Sean Gass and Laura Cole. The new start times resulted in increased traffic jams throughout Wayland, especially during the morning. Senior arts and entertainment editor Christina Taxiarchis created an infographic depicting student opinions regarding the new changes.

Also in September, Wayland and other nearby Middlesex towns experienced a high risk level for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection. As a result, the health department required that all Wayland outdoor activities, including sports, end at 6 p.m.

In sports, seniors Aiden Chitkara and Zeke and Ethan Betancourt defied gender norms as they played on the girls varsity field hockey team during the fall season. Despite outside critics, the Wayland field hockey team enjoyed having the boys, and ended the season with a 9-4-1 record. In this article, WSPN’s business manager Jimmy Paugh debriefed the season and the value of Chitkara and Z. and E. Betancourt.

The English wing received a splash of color this year, thanks to seniors Amelia Ao and Yana Lipnesh. Junior Katherine Deane was awarded WSPN’s Artist of the Month with her work, “Tribute to Basquiat,” an illustration of hanging stars and books.


WSPN kicked off October with its new mobile app. Download the app to receive easy access to WSPN and its content; users can also save perferred articles and videos for quick viewing in the future.

Sports Broadcast editor Josh Schreiber provided a behind- the scenes look at Wayland’s ongoing construction on route 27.

The math department implemented blue books and reflection sheets in hopes to transition student thinking from grade-based to improvement-based. Math Department head Barbara Coughlin emphasized the idea of giving students the opportunity to focus on improving skills rather than just specific test questions.

Schreiber explained the ACT’s new policy in which students are allowed to retake single sections of the test starting in September 2020.

In celebration of Halloween, WHS’s Connect Program planned to host its annual haunted house. WSPN reporter and senior Aiden Chitkara and junior Max Brande talked with the Connect program’s members regarding details of the upcoming event.

Junior Billy Cossart and senior Fatma Sayeh won WSPN’s monthly Fashionista of the Month award, and next year’s arts and entertainment editor junior Alyssa Dickstein reviewed Taylor Swift’s new album, “Lover.”

Sophomores attended the annual semi-formal dance, where wellness teacher John Berry served as the class of 2022’s DJ.

In WSPN’s beloved sports blog, Warrior Weekly, Brande gave an update on the college football season. Also, Wayland’s golf team improved throughout the season, scoring 113 points against Waltham.

Three Wayland boys, juniors Porter Moody and Michael Long along with senior Ryan Fuller, stepped up as team managers for the Wayland Girls Volleyball team. Check out this article for an inside look. In other sports news, junior Ellie Tyska and senior Hailey Robinson caught up with the cross country team. Lastly, WSPN staff provided a run-down of Wayland’s fall sports season.


WHS began the month of November with the Green Team’s walk-ride-carpool to school day in hopes of encouraging students to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Shortly after, Wayland Middle School seventh grader Maya Noyes was crowned champion of Food Network’s famous show, Chopped Junior. Noyes took home a total of $10,000 in a Thanksgiving special.

In other news, the debate team qualified for the gold division of the national tournament. Junior debate partners Atharva Weling and Randy Wang qualified for the Tournament of Champions with two gold bids, while junior captain Sam Goldstone and junior Aiden Zhang have acquired a bid to the silver division.

For the first time in five years, the Wayland Varsity field hockey team qualified for playoffs, and senior captains Fatma Sayeh and Arden Knapp discussed new strategies for the season. On the other hand, Wayland Girls Varsity soccer lost to the Acton-Boxborough Colonials on senior night. Brande and sophomore staff reporter Garrett Spooner explored Wayland’s new policy in which sports teams were allowed to leave school early if needed due to games. The policy was implemented this year as a result of later start times.

In football, seniors prepared for the annual Powder Puff game against Weston while coaches and players worked to defend youth tackle football after the state proposed to eliminate the sport statewide.

Senior multimedia editor Julia Callini shot this gallery of WHSTE’s fall musical, Chicago. Shortly after, Callini covered the official show with a total of 19 captivating photos. Later, Callini, along with sophomore staff reporter Julia Wegerbaur captured A Cappella’s first performance.

As Thanksgiving approached, WSPN interviewed some students who took the time to give thanks for the people and things around them.

In opinions, junior feature editor Caterina Tomassini said ‘Thank You‘ to Worcester fire lieutenant Jason Manard who died tragically in a house fire. Meanwhile, sophomore staff reporter Taylor McGuire shared her view on Massachusetts state representative Daniel Hunt proposing a bill to ban the “b-word” statewide. Similarly, sophomore staff reporter Brendan Ho gave his two cents about ‘Sound the Bells’ by Dessa.

In broadcast, Schreiber and Brande along with senior CJ Brown launched their season two, episode four of Wayland Sports Chat to discuss the College football Heisman watch, MLB playoffs, MVP candidates and hot NBA teams to start the year.


Tomassini and sophomore reporter Eliya Howard-Delman caught up with students about the newly implemented advisory changes while editor-in-chief Kevin Wang wrote about the influence of legacies in the college admissions process.

All eyes were on senior Ryan Dowling when he released his Spotify album, “back2california,” and young Wayland students took part in Wayland’s 32nd annual Holiday Shoppe. On a different note, junior news editor Meredith Prince and senior managing editor Caitlin Newton dove deep into the era of a popular social media app, VSCO.

Chitkara continued his sports reporting with this article discussing the Boston Bruins’ ‘hot streak’ while sophomore staff reporter Dante Coppola reviewed the loss of players in Wayland basketball. A few weeks after the big game, WSPN released the long-awaited Powderpuff highlight video. Check out this eye-opening article to learn more about the injury risk of student athletes, and take a moment to celebrate Wayland swim and dive coach Mike Foley who earned his 500th career win.

WSPN caught a quick glance at how Wayland A Cappella practices before shows, and Wayland boys basketball suffered a loss to Boston Latin. On the other hand, Wayland girls basketball stomped Boston Latin 47-22.

Finally, junior staff reporter Atharva Weling turned the tables and discussed the remaining democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 election while McGuire lightened the mood with some positivity awareness.


The new year started off well as the Wayland fire department received a $2,860 grant to buy new gear, while, suddenly, Wayland’s local Panera Bread closed.

With mid-year exams approaching, two WSPN reporters kindly constructed a mid-term survival guide to help WHS students get through the often stressful last weeks of January, and freshman staff reporter Anna Ilyin takes a trip down memory lane in listing 2019’s most prominent fashion trends.

Wayland boys hockey came face-to-face with a major issue this season as the team was left without a goalie. Luckily, senior Philip Koechling stepped up to the challenge, willing to put his skill as a lacrosse goalie to use. In fantasy football, three WSPN reporters conducted a survey to find out which punishments are most and least favored.

After a sad loss in early January, the New England Patriots received criticism from all over the country, including in this article written by Paugh. Later in January, the country fell silent at the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

In entertainment, WSPN reviewed Frozen II and Pentatonix’s The Best of Pentatonix Christmas. Meanwhile, Wayland’s theatre group, WHSTE, began to rehearse for its winter special, Squirrel Girl Goes to College while WHS’s dance team, Window, began rehearsing for its Winter Week performance.

Weling expressed his concerns for climate strikes, and WSPN’s sophomore staff reporter from Spain, Amalia Rial, compared the foreign language program in Spain to that of the U.S.. Also in opinions, Weling analyzed the constant jokes made regarding the then-speculative World War III.


One of the most prominent debates of February was the removal of scales on AP testing. Many students shared their varying opinions about the new change.

Reporters Emily Chafe and Sidney O’Rourke brought attention to Latin Club, which, decades ago, was one of the most popular clubs at WHS; in 1983, the club hosted 115 members!

In the annual Talent Show, WHS’s original band, ‘Soup Time,’ took the school by storm and quickly became a well-known group. Similarly, Wayland’s local Russel’s Farmers Market gained recognition this year as it opened to sell fresh fruit, baked goods and homemade treats.

Later, senior Opinion Editor Kyle Chen gave an update on the field renovations, including the softball and football field, track, and tennis courts. As the year progressed, the class of 2020 began to feel the effects of ‘Senioritis,’ especially as senior spring approached.

Even though the New England Patriots were out of the Super Bowl, Coppola continued to track the season and gave his predictions for Super Bowl LIV. You can also check out this episode of Half Hour Hook for a guest appearance by junior Billy Cossart in which he and two WSPN reporters discuss the NBA and its rich history.

Boys basketball made momentous achievements this season, especially its first win against Lincoln-Sudbury in five years while the Wrestling team continued its 2020 season.

Concerns grew larger as the Coronavirus spead in China. Due to the then mysterious virus, the freshman annual eight-week trip to China was in question due to growing health concerns. Ultimately, the trip was cancelled.


As we all know, the second week of March marked our last week together at WHS due to increasing risk of COVID-19, but the closure didn’t stop us from making headlines.

Senior Emma Sheehan wrestled in the MA girls all-states, earning a spot on the wall in WHS’s wrestling room. In addition, students took initiative in participating in the presidential primaries, and Happy Hollow Elementary school welcomed a new principal.

In Coronavirus news, Wayland Middle School’s 8th grade D.C. trip, the annual Senior Show, junior prom, standardized testing and all international school trips were cancelled due to the virus.

Students took time to think about whether or not Daylight Savings is necessary, and the math team cherished its success on the road to States. WSPN also took a deeper look into the Innovation and Design class and two WMS students protesting climate change every morning.

In sports, Coppola reviewed who he thought were New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s best receivers while Brown and Chitkara caught up with senior Zeke Betancourt and Wayland Wrestling won a DCL for the first time since 2016.

Boys Varsity swimming won yet another state title following an undefeated season, and boys Varsity basketball took home the Central Division II Championship for the first time since 1991. Also, athletic trainer Chris Morash prepared to leave WHS.

Sophomore staff reporter Julia Raymond explained hair dyeing, a new craze satisfying many people’s quarantine boredom. In entertainment, junior Jett Peter was awarded WSPN’s Artist of the Month award, and Raymond and Kate Clifford listed 10 easy desserts to make with minimal ingredients.

In opinions, WSPN paid tribute to Pam Pingeton, a beloved teacher at Claypit Hill Elementary school, Weling shared his devotion to Pete Buuttigieg, sophomore Andrew Boyer reviewed Lil Baby’s “My Turn,” and Weling and Chi shared their perspectives on Coronavirus and racism.


In response to quarantine boredom, the Student Council ran a five-week contest known as “QuaranTV.” Check out the contest submissions here. We also heard student opinions about online learning as well as the effects of Coronavirus on local grocery stores.

Three WHS students took the opportunity to 3D print protective masks to give to local hospitals, and many Wayland residents take part in the ‘Hike Wayland Family Challenge.’ Click here to learn more about the effect of Coronavirus on local retail stores.

In sports, Spooner reflected on the story of the 1991 WHS boys basketball team , including their state title and a game at the Boston Garden. Also, WSPN’s ‘Sports Junkies’ offered its perspective on a season without sports due to the Coronavirus outbreak while Schreiber released the first episode of his new podcast, ‘Rounding the Bases.’ Unfortunately, many Wayland athletes were also affected by the Coronavirus as all spring sports seasons were cancelled this year.

Since so many of us were in quarantine this April, WSPN showed viewers how to make homemade lattés, chocolate covered pretzels, apple crisps, and energy balls. To cure the quarantine boredom, WSPN staff also provided top 10 shows to watch on Netflix and 10 outdoor activities to fill your time.

Additionally, you can click here to learn about teacher preferences on Zoom and GoogleMeets and here for a review of Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake.” In light of Autism Awareness month, Tomassini reflected on her experience living with a sibling with special needs.


Since many high school seniors made a final decision on which college to attend this fall, WSPN presented an interactive map detailing the class of 2020’s post-high school plans. In other news, superintendent Arthur Unobskey announced that he will be leaving Wayland at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Despite social distancing guidelines, many Wayland students, along with other quarantined Americans across the country, have found new ways of celebrating birthdays and other celebrations through drive-by parades. In terms of mental health, however, many Wayland students have found that they are greatly affected by the lack of social interactions and in-person gatherings due to the Coronavirus.

Also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many academic programs have been jeopardized, including many colleges for the fall semester / as well as the high school class of 2021 and their college application process. Despite the academic changes, WSPN was still able to talk with next year’s SADD leaders as well as some of Wayland’s past boy-scouts regarding bankruptcy and other new rules .

Given that the spring sports season was cancelled, sports news was sparse; however, you can still tune in to Schreiber’s new podcast, ‘Rounding the Bases’ regarding the teams in the American League Central Division. Also, the college recruitment process has adapted due to COVID-19 setbacks, and spring athletes have been trying to maintain their skills despite the lack of real life practices and games.

Even though some quarantine setbacks have been lifted, WSPN still wanted to provide ways to keep yourself busy, including how to make chocolate espresso muffins , blueberry muffins, and strawberry ice cream .

In opinions, Raymond explains her perspective on anti-lockdown protests and the idea of virtual graduation ceremonies. Soon after the death of George Floyd, a 46 year old black man from Minnesota, Tomassini wrote an open letter to the police involved in Floyd’s death followed by an analysis of the government response to the Black Lives Matter protests. In Welings’ piece, ‘Trump vs. Truth,’ Weling speaks about recent statements made by president Donald Trump.


To start the month, McGuire hosted a fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement by selling masks while freshman Maya Lee kickstarted her own fundraiser to help homeless families, healthcare workers and anyone struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic. Also, senior Amelia Ao was named U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of only 162 total winners throughout the country and WHS voted for the upcoming year’s Student Council officers.

In lieu of a Wayland teacher suffering brain cancer, three WHS students walked a full marathon to raise awareness and raise money for the beloved teacher. Check out this article to learn more about how the Wayland elementary schools celebrated their fifth graders.

In sports, Wayland girls soccer took on quarantine with “Charity Miles,” senior athletic commits gave thought to next year’s tentative sports season, and Schreiber made predictions for the MLB season.

If you’re especially bored this summer, freshman Rebeca Kamins-Gill compiled a list of 10 apps to cure boredom during quarantine. Additionally, Tomassini and Dickstein curated a virtual art gallery for the AP art students whose pieces could not be displayed during an in-person event. Since the Coronavirus pandemic rendered in-person events impossible, WHSTE hosted a virtual Thespian Night including 40 video clips.

The senior band members kindly composed this video in celebration of the class of 2020’s high school graduation.

Two WSPN reporters sat down with prior presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, Weling analyzes a recent decision by president Donald Trump, and junior METCO student Khalia Hamilton makes a guest appearance to describe her experience as a METCO student.