Hundreds of roses, chocolate, and teddy bears fill the table. Ribbon, themed bags, and plenty of fun dip overflow the target bags on the floor. Slips with messages are outfitted with romantic phrases, pick up lines, and inside jokes. Hands grasp at the items sorting them into the bags, laughing together as they prepare for the delight of many WA students.
Secret Admirers Day has run annually at WA for the past 23 years. In the beginning, Secret Admirer’s only offered roses to be gifted, but then more variety in gift options started to be added. Now, gifters can choose from stuffed bears (small and large), lollipops, chocolate roses, and even fun dip. Secret Admirer’s Day Valentines are a friendly or romantic way to show love for a significant other, crush, or friend, they are even a way to show appreciation for a favorite teacher.
In a normal year, Student Council representatives sit out during lunch for the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Students can then write down their name and who they’re sending their chosen gift(s) to. Then Student Council members sort through and organize each gift by the first class on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, when the gift or gift bundles are delivered to recipients’ first block classes.
This year, many modifications had to be made to fit the COVID-19 Guidelines. Lizzy Durgin, a student council representative, and the Secret Admirer’s Day Committee lead was in charge of making sure these guidelines were met and everything went to plan.
“This year we had to adapt; teachers didn’t want us in their rooms handing out stuff, because we just see a lot of people touching everything. We were trying to find a way that we could do it with less contact,” Durgin said.
This year the process that was normally done at lunch had to be done remotely to cater to all students. Google Forms was used for ordering, with payments through Venmo. When it came to delivery of the gifts, designated pick up times were assigned. For hybrid students, dismissal hours on Tuesday and Thursday were the most popular pickup times, and remote students could arrive at dismissal hours as well. The final pickup time was Friday, February 12th at 2 pm.
Along with a modified secret admirer’s day came skewed popularity. With less connection and in-person time between students, Student Council expected less orders. Yet, despite the circumstances, Student Council was able to amass over 400 items ordered this year.
This year 471 items were ordered in total, that being 36 roses, 60 chocolate roses, 80 small bears, 13 large bears, 83 heart lollipops, and 199 fun dip packages. Compared to last year’s 563 total items ordered.
“We were like really happy that over 200 people ordered again this year, it’s not like normal years where I feel we have a lot more than that, but it was just good to see people participating,” Durgin said.
When it comes to planning for this event, in normal years it is usually more of a group activity that allows for the committee to bond and gets to know one another while working together.
“The whole committee will go to Target together and get all of the materials, and we stay in someone’s house and package them. So this year was a little different because we couldn’t gather stuff together, so I had to go out separately and buy all the items,” Durgin said.
With barriers regarding online access to resources and passwords, having the whole committee work together remotely was challenging.
While this year it was more difficult for the committee to work in conjunction, they still made it happen. Durgin and Student Council President Robyn Bryce assigned all members tasks, mainly to do with organizing the messages onto google docs so they could be printed out easily.
“I’m just really proud of the council and the committee for pulling everything together really efficiently making included. I feel like it definitely brought joy to the school like something happy is going on, I’m proud of their hard work and I can’t wait to see what else we can come up with during this time,” Durgin said.
When COVID hit, everything changed. COVID-19 had resulted in big decisions being made, some regarding how our school functions, how we travel, and how we spend time with family and friends. Largely influential systems have shifted to adjust to guidelines. This left the smaller, fun events in life to fade away, making some days seem repetitive. This all leaves people to miss what was lost due to this and last year’s circumstances.
Student Council and WA Students as a whole missed out on the Spirit Rally, Holiday Bazaar, and day to day normalcy due to COVID-19. Despite the trying conditions, Student Council has been able to continue with the loved tradition of Secret Admirer’s Day
“Everything that student council usually puts on has been either canceled or modified in some way, and this was one of the things that we were we knew we could do. I feel it’s important, with a year like this, there’s not much that we could still hold events for, but we felt it was important to give the students something to look forward to, our biggest events have been canceled, so we felt like secret admirers day could be done, and could be done safely.” Durgin said.