December 12, 2020

Good morning! I’m Ava Eisenbarth!

I’m Riley Rosenmeyer!

And I’m Marguerite Fakler! You’re listening to the “Bear Facts”, the radio show where each week we bring you the news from Bishop Garrigan High School.

COVID-19 restrictions have made almost everything different at school this year, and some of the changes have affected the music department. Because the regular music rooms aren’t big enough to allow for social distancing, the music teachers had to get creative. The junior high band split up between two different rooms, with the director in the hallway between them. The high school met on the school stage, and the choir has had their classes in the new chapel.

The band had their Christmas concert last Wednesday, while the choir concert will be this coming week. Those also looked different due to COVID. The concerts are being held in the new gym, which allows the maximum possible space to spread out. The musicians are socially distanced while performing, and when they’re not using their mouths to sing or play an instrument, they wear masks.

Only two spectators per family are allowed to attend the concerts in person. Because of those restrictions, the concerts were livestreamed so other people could watch them on their phones or computers. Unfortunately copyright restrictions don’t allow the concerts to be archived, but we’re glad we could at least let more people hear the band and choir perform.

Livestreaming is also important for fans of Golden Bear sports. A new camera from Huddle has been installed in the new gym, and a second one will be installed in the old gym. Those cameras allow us to show every basketball game—from junior high through varsity—live on YouTube. The boys games are also archived on the BGS Media YouTube site, so fans can watch them later. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best we can do to make things work in this pandemic year. There’s also a good chance we’ll keep on livestreaming in the future, to allow out-of-town fans to watch the Golden Bears.

Last Saturday the Iowa State Dance and Drill Team Association announced the award winners for this year’s state competition. We knew the Golden Bear danz squad would do well, but in the end they really couldn’t have done any better. First, in the solo dance contest, senior Cora Ricke was the state champion. Junior Lillee Deike finished second statewide, and sophomore Ella Schaaf was fourth. On a scale of up to 100, all three Garrigan soloists scored in the 90’s.

As a group, the Golden Bear danz squad won state championships with both their pom and jazz routines. Their scores blew away the competition. They received Division I ratings for all their performances, and they also won the team academic award. The top honor, though, came when their jazz routine was selected as the judges’ choice, the best performance at state among hundreds of entries in all classes. Congratulations to the Golden Bear dancers!

There’s more quiz bowl action this morning. Four Garrigan freshmen are competing in the Rookie Challenge, an event sponsored by the International Quiz Bowl Tournament Association. No team from Iowa has ever competed in this event before, so we don’t know how it will go. Sam Plathe, Ben Greteman, Brendan Plathe, and Benjy Trainer are up for the challenge, though, and we wish them good luck as they compete today.

The season of Advent always includes reconciliation, the sacrament where Catholics confess their sins. Reconciliation is yet another thing that has changed because of COVID-19. We had separate penance services in shifts to keep from overcrowding the church, and the priests heard confessions at a safe distance.

Our Senior Spotlight this week shines on Derrick Kirsch. Derrick is probably best known outside Garrigan as a running back on the Golden Bear football team. He’s much more than just an athlete, though. He’s an accomplished musician who’s been in band, choir, and musicals, and even plays guitar. He’s also a top-notch student who has challenged himself with accelerated math and science classes. We wish Derrick the best of luck in college and throughout his future.

On this week’s Golden Bear calendar, there’s the quiz bowl online rookie challenge. Then tomorrow is the third Sunday of Advent.

Next week junior high sports will be allowed to resume. At the high school level the sports week starts on Tuesday, when the Golden Bear basketball teams play a quad at Garner.

We’ll have our last student mass before Christmas next Wednesday, with the high school attending in person. Wednesday night is the Christmas vocal concert, which will be livestreamed on the BGS Media YouTube site.

Thursday the JJV boys will be playing at North Union. Then next Friday the JV and varsity Bears will host North Union. Finally next Saturday there’s the big crosstown basketball match-up. This year the Bears will be playing at Algona High.

That’s the “Bear Facts” for this week. Thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune in again next week when we’ll have a special holiday show as we get ready for Christmas here at Bishop Garrigan High School.