A new kind of Groundhog Day

Cold weather and cheering fans are a typical February 2nd for Punxsutawney, PA as the crowd awaits for the great Prognosticator to deliver his prediction early that morning. This year, however, will not be a typical year since Groundhog Day has been moved to being an all virtual experience.

Jason Grusky, a teacher at PAHS and a member of the Inner Circle, shed some light on how Groundhog Day will look this year.

“Everything will be virtual this year,” Grusky said. “Most events will be held on Zoom or just be virtual in general such as online scavenger hunts, Groundhog trivia, a virtual 5k race, and the talent competition that we used to do in the Community Center.”

As Groundhog Day approaches, visitors are encouraged not to come to Punxsy during Groundhog Day, according to Grusky, but will still be welcomed if they do. The Visitor Center up at the Knob will be open, and Inner Circle members plan to be there as well. Grusky said that they do intend to wear masks, social distance, and keep the crowd as small as possible.

“The Knob will look a little different since there will not be as many people there as usual,” Grusky said. “There will still be a fair amount of people up there but it will only be the people working such as the State Police, Media Crew, and Groundskeepers.”

Even though Groundhog Day will be all virtual this year, Grusky still said he encourages people to watch the live broadcast. He said he and other members of the Inner Circle will still be there all night waiting for the time to come where Phil makes his prediction.

Not only will the Knob look different this year, but our very own PAHS will not be able to hold the annual Groundhog Day Assembly. With the capacity of the gym limited to 10%, the school faculty and staff thought of different ways for students and staff alike to celebrate a little differently this year.

Kara Leslie, a teacher and Head Cheerleading Coach at PAHS, normally volunteers to help out with the Assembly as do her Cheerleaders. This year, though, she is not sure how it will look.

Leslie said, “I really haven’t heard about what it’s going to look like this year. Usually we like to volunteer and help out, but all I know about this year is that we are doing Groundhog Day activities at the end of the day on January 29th.”

Mr. Long, the principal at PAHS, clarified how that day is going to look.

“On January 29th, we are going to announce the King and Queen during Activity Period and have a parade with them in the halls, just a very small thing with Mr. Grusky, Phil, maybe a couple of other Inner Circle members,” Long said. “We’re gonna try to get a couple of drummers maybe too because we cannot have the whole band playing the halls because of COVID.”

That Friday will also be a Groundhog Spirit Day, according to Long, for both the staff and the students.

“Prizes will be given out for whoever has the best Groundhog outfit, or at least stickers or something like that to those who participated,” Long said. “Everyone will then go back to their homerooms 8th and 9th period for a movie with snacks provided by Student Council.”

Long said that he appreciates that the students are flexible and understanding of the situation, and he is grateful that we can do some form of celebration even though it is not our typical Groundhog’s Day.