Special to the Independent
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the closure of schools across the state for the remainder of 2020, the athletic seasons also were canceled, taking away from the members of the senior class the opportunity to compete for the last time in a Crimson Tide uniform.
The Independent invited the members of the Everett High girls track team from the Class of 2020 and their coach, Jehu Cimea, both to reflect on the season that so cruelly was taken away from them by the coronavirus and to share their hopes for the future.
Following are their comments, in their own words:
Coach Jehu Cimea
When it first was announced that Everett would be closing the school for 30 days, the thing that was on my mind was what did that mean for the spring season — a season my athletes were looking forward to. When I heard that the MIAA was still trying to proceed with some kind of a season, that gave my athletes and me some hope.
But then the announcement came from the Governor to close the schools for the remainder of the school year and I knew our season was lost. I knew the MIAA tried their best to salvage the spring season and we as coaches are so grateful to the MIAA for that.
This pandemic is something we have not seen before and we thank the brave men and women who are fighting on the front lines for us each and every single day.
To all our seniors athletes in Everett, I just want to say thank you for your dedication and hard work and for representing Everett with pride each and every time you were out there, whether on the track, field, or court. To my senior athletes, this one is hard for me, as I have been there with them since day one. This class is by far the biggest class I’ve ever had, with 25 seniors and most of them being varsity athletes since their freshman season.
This class, with the talent we had for the outdoor season, was going to have a good season. They have accomplished so much in their four years, breaking seven school records, and I knew they would have broken more this outdoor season.
They were a class that was hard-working, dedicated, and willing to help the underclassman when needed. Our underclassman looked up to our seniors and were proud to be led by this group. Missing their last season due to this pandemic is awful, but it’s something that we are living with right now as a community and it’s something that is going to make this class and this community stronger than ever before.
Not being able to practice with them one last time, not being able to go to another meet with them, not being able to have those long weekend meets and bond together as a team and a family — those I miss daily — and not being able to create more memories this season really hurts.
To my captains, Carolann, Victoria, Lucia, Mac, Ryan, Eddie, Fabrice, Lyanne, and Arthur, and the other seniors, Justin, Clarence, Kira, Jacob, Tony, Zac, Frank, Briane, Ronald, Isaac, Christian, Kayo, Mario P., Mario S., Ahmed, and Rothsaida, thank you so much for all you have done for the team throughout your years in an Everett uniform.
We all became a family and had so many memories. Coach Walls, Coach Hahesy, and I are immensely proud of what you guys have done and the men and women that you have become. You will be missed dearly by your fellow classmates and coaches. We all wish you nothing but the best and our doors always will be open for you.
Thank you for everything, Class of 2020,
Being a student-athlete at Everett High School has shaped my life for the better. The school gave me the chance to participate in opportunities like leadership conferences/seminars, meeting new people, and even having the chance to play collegiate sports.
I have been a member of the soccer, basketball, and track & field varsity teams for all my four years at EHS. I learned how to balance taking honors/AP classes while being extremely busy with my sports, while maintaining a 3.94 GPA. I know that being an athlete has pushed me to be a better student in the classroom. I’m also involved in different clubs around the school, where I participate in community service.
My athletic career at EHS is something I’m very proud of. I played on three varsity teams my freshman year, working my way up, becoming a starter, becoming a captain my junior year for both basketball and track & field, and becoming a captain my senior year for soccer.
Being a captain and a leader on and off the field, court, and track is very important to me, and has taught me how to get my point across in a respectful manner, while talking to my fellow peers or authority — a skill that I will use for the rest of my life, because I have the hopes of becoming a coach.
Wearing “Everett” on my uniforms throughout my time at EHS has meant so much to me. I love representing my city on the field, court, track, and in the classroom. I have been pushed by myself, my family, teachers, and especially coaches to be the best student athlete I can be. I owe a lot of credit to the people who helped me get to where I am today.
In my athletic career at EHS I have been a six-time GBL/NEC All Star and two- time MVP for my play in all soccer, basketball, and track & field.
I am deeply saddened by the fact that I can’t compete and throw the javelin for the last season of my athletic career at EHS. I want everyone to remain safe during this awful time, so I understand the cancellation of school and our seasons. However, I still wanted the chance to move further than the All-States meet. I’m a 3x State meet qualifier and a 1x All-State meet qualifier for throwing the javelin. It’s bittersweet for me because I will get the chance to throw the javelin the next four years at UMass Amherst, where I was recruited for the track & field team, and will study psychology, in hopes of being a high school guidance counselor one day.
From being the women’s record holder for the javelin at Everett High School, the first female athlete to qualify for the All-States meet, the first track & field athlete to go D1, and lastly, the second female athlete to go D1, every accomplishment means just as more as the next because without the chance to compete at all three of my sports, I wouldn’t be the student-athlete I am today.
It breaks my heart that I can’t throw the javelin in an Everett uniform one last time, but I know I have unfinished business with the javelin and without EHS I wouldn’t even have the opportunity to be an athlete at the D1 level. So even though it is incredibly hard and sad to say goodbye to being an athlete at EHS, it’s time to say hello to UMass! Everett will always be in my life — from the city I grew up in, to the high school I played for — my Everett pride will always run deep.
Being a part of the track and field team at Everett High School has been one of the best experiences of my life. Over the last four years, I’ve created incredible bonds with my teammates and was always surrounded by a supportive environment.
Though being a student-athlete can be a lot of work in regards to balancing both athletics and academics, doing the sport I love made it all worth it.
During the winter track season, my coach made me one of the captains of the team. I was super excited because being a captain is something I had always hoped for since my freshman year. I put all my efforts into being the best runner I could be throughout high school, and it ended up paying off.
So I was looking forward to being able to step up and help lead the team in practices and at meets during my senior year.
So you could imagine when I had heard my last season of track and field was canceled, I was truly devastated. I already had my last race during the winter season with the same people whom I consider a second family without even knowing, which hurt me the most.
I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other team, and the friendships I created with everyone mean the most to me. I will truly miss everyone, but I will not forget all the fantastic memories I have made, which I am grateful to have.
It’s been hard to accept that I’ve run for the last time as an EHS athlete. My senior year of track was supposed to wrap up my time as an Everett public schools student. After being a student here for my entire school career, I felt not only an immense sense of pride to represent Everett, but a sense of responsibility to be the best I could be.
I learned a lot about myself through track. Running the two-mile is not for the faint of heart and I learned how hard I could push myself to be excellent and to keep improving every meet. My teamates and Coach Hahesey and Coach Cimea encourage me everyday on and off the track to be my best and continuously support me. Hearing my coaches and teamates cheer me on the track is a feeling like no other.
Next year I plan to continue my education at Harvard College and although I may run again for the Harvard Crimson, nothing compares to being part of the Crimson Tide.
I’ve only been going to Everett High for the past two years, but I can definitely say whole-heartedly that it was an experience.
At first, joining a new track team at a new school came with its many difficulties. However, the team accepted me as a part of them very quickly, and many members became friends that mattered the most to me.
Being able to have become such a crucial part of the team since junior year, and a captain my senior year, taught me many lessons that I will hold dear to my heart forever. My teammates and coaches became my family and I will cherish those memories long after high school.
My heart was shattered to learn that my spring track season was cancelled. While the safety of our community takes top priority, it still extremely hurt to know that I was going to miss out on my many lasts: My last first spring track meet in high school, my very last track meet, my last practice, and my last day with all these beautiful people with whom I was able to form relationships.
It hurt even more because I was injured last spring season and wasn’t able to perform to the best of my abilities with the very few times I was able to run. The indoor season went very well, but I was excited to give the spring season every last inch of me. I wanted to be able to go against the local teams one more time: To have one more chant, to give one more motivational speech to my amazing teammates, and to relish in our hard work as a group.
It’s all very heartbreaking, thinking I won’t get the opportunity to experience those bittersweet moments with my track family.
Though it was not long, I’m proud to have been given the opportunity to be an athlete at EHS. The experiences, the lessons, and all the memories I have with everyone will always be a part of who I am. I plan to run track at Suffolk University, but it definitely won’t be the same as running with my teammates here and being coached by Coach Cimea.
To the EHS community, the track and field team, and all the coaches, my gratitude towards you all is immeasurable. Thank you.
Victoria Elena Chaparro
Never in a million years would I have thought I would become an athlete, and even less, a part of such a supportive family. Track and field has become way more significant to me than just a sport. For four years I have discovered not only how challenging running track can be, but also how much I am capable of doing with the support of my teammates and coaches.
Now that I am a senior, and have reflected back on my last four years of being a varsity athlete, I wouldn’t change a single thing. From pushing myself at practice, to qualifying for state championships, to breaking school records with my relay team, and being named Captain during my junior year — track and field has been a huge part of my high school career as well as my identity.
Being an EHS athlete taught me how to work in teams, to come up with routines, and gave me a new passion to work for every day. After a long school day, I could always rely on practice, meets, or team bonding to immediately light up the rest of my day.
With that being said, when the news came out that the spring track season would be cancelled, I was devastated. I was looking forward to my last season as a captain, and pushing myself even harder to qualify for as much as I could. Realizing there would be no more practices under the sun, day-long meets, baton passing, long jumps, and victory dances was heartbreaking. However, as I calmed and faced reality, I realized I still have had the pleasure to be part of a great team for seven amazing seasons. I will carry with me the endless memories I began collecting since my freshman year. Thanks to my teammates, and especially Coach Cimea, who supported us in every way he could, I now have four wonderful years to reflect back on.
Now, as I embark on a new chapter in my life, and head to Hofstra University in New York to study Health Sciences on the Pre-medicine track, I take those seven seasons with me, as a reminder of some of the best years of my life. I will forever be grateful for the friendships, memories, and accomplishments my Everett track and field team has gifted me with. They are truly unforgettable.
During this pandemic, parents have lost their jobs, people have shut down their family-owned businesses, and kids are not getting the same education. Everett High School shut down for the rest of the school year — my senior year, our senior year, was taken away from us just like that.
We will not be able to have the senior year that we have been dreaming about for years on end. I will never throw a shot put in the gym again. I will never throw a discus in the stadium again or have workouts with my teammates with whom I’ve built bonds since my sophomore year.
My year has ended and I didn’t get to finish it the way I wanted to — with my track and field family at the championship meet, playing the sport I love, with the people who loved me and encouraged me to push myself to the point that I could throw and hit 30 feet and break the school record for indoor shot put.
That wasn’t just me who was throwing — it also was my teammates cheering me on, pushing me to work hard and to keep my head up if I didn’t do well. I am truly going to miss competing for Everett High track and field.