A year in review: 2020-2021

First Day of School
August 31, 2020
The absence of the Senior Raid into the Salkind Center gym on August 31, 2020, marked an untraditional start to the 2020-2021 school year, yet other ASM traditions like 9th grade and transfer introductions remained.

Dawn Porter Speaks with the Urban Community
October 12, 2020
The filmmaker Dawn Porter joined the Urban community to speak about her documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble which was released earlier in 2020. Porter spoke to the importance of standing up against injustice. Students were challenged and encouraged to find how they could get into good trouble as a means of bringing about change.

Blues House in Your House
October 16, 2020

Fall Production – Roads to Liberation: A Feminist Cabaret
December 4, 2020
Roads to Liberation: A Feminist Cabaret was the first full-fledged Urban production to be conceptually generated and performed virtually. The performance spotlighted the power of femininity by mashing together writings of historical figures, like Susan B. Anthony, with a variety of songs from Broadway shows, like Six.

The World is Spinning: Peer Ed Show
December 8-9, 11, 2020
This year’s Peer Ed Show, The World is Spinning, verbalized many of the struggles and questions that our community faced under quarantine. This year’s cast was challenged with conveying emotion without a live audience, yet exceeded all expectations through immense vulnerability and courage.

Camillia Amiri ‘23
“Peer Resource has made a huge impact on my life – I now feel comfortable sharing personal experiences with strangers, public speaking, and answering soul-seeking existential questions…It was definitely really awkward to be thrust into a Zoom environment where I was expected to share personal things when I didn’t yet feel comfortable doing so. Over most of the term, I felt disconnected from my peers – reluctant to share with them. The Peer Ed show really brought us together. As a group, we all watched the show for the first time together on Zoom, and I felt the adrenaline and unity of performing.”

Winter Music Concert
December 13, 2020

Grandparents and Special Friends Day
December 17, 2020

Month of Understanding
January 2021
The Month of Understanding (MOU) is a tradition at Urban that has long been recognized as a time for the community to come together and learn from one another’s experiences. Affinity space leaders and MultiCulti open members soon became aware of the extreme difficulty of fostering a sense of community in physically different spaces. As a result, many were forced to reinvent the way MOU events were hosted, but the shift online brought along some benefits such as high attendance and more guest speakers. Some of the many events that took place this past January included a “Cross the Line” activity, the Women of Color panel, and the Financial Aid Forum.

Rowan Hunt ‘22

“I think that MOU’s success this year can be attributed to how easily accessible it was, but also because I feel like it’s a grounding aspect of Urban’s culture and community. During the quarantine, I felt that MOU made me feel most connected to Urban as a community, to peers and conversations I’m not able to have in a limited zoom class schedule.”

Wren Crandall ‘21

“I hope the theme of this year’s MOU “Changemakers” impressed upon all that we have the power to be changemakers in our own lives and communities. Amidst a time of national reckonings with racism, police brutality and much more we must all make individual efforts to become each other’s changemakers.”

Blues House in Your House
January 29, 2021
Since the spring trimester of 2020, Blues House in Your House has become an Urban favorite. The popularity of Blues House in Your House, its iconic emcee Chris Williams and the chance to highlight the wide array of skilled Urban students resulted in a well-attended event that promises variety and immense talent every show.

Morgan Bandy ‘23
“I love playing music and sharing my talent with the people around me. Seeing the look on people’s faces when I play music always lights up my day. I enjoy bringing people together through music. Even though every show was virtual I always appreciated the people in the comments and the emails of appreciation afterward. I’ll always cherish watching my talented peers play music in our community and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it too!”

Black History Month
February 2021
Throughout the month of February, Urban’s Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a total of four events in celebration of Black History Month. Not only did panels and forums highlight the voices and experiences of students and teachers, but they invited the entire community to learn more about the Black Panther Party and the intersectionality and different experiences of being a Black individual.

Winter Festival
February 4, 2021

Season 1 Begins
February 8, 2021 – March 20, 2021
COVID-19 threw the prospect of athletic competitions and games in question for the first five months of the school year. However, Season 1 sports, including Girls Tennis, Boys Golf, Girls Golf and Co-ed Cross Country, were deemed safe to play as students began wearing Urban jerseys on the court, course and track.

Ava Desouza ‘22
“Our team [Girls Golf] was really successful in enthusiasm and supporting each other since a lot of us were new to the sport. Slightly less successful in actually winning games.”

Winter Production
February 25-26, 2021
This year’s winter production, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, was held on Zoom and performed live. The play was made up of small skits in which the audience was able to participate and engage directly with the actors.

Orrie Rindal ‘22
“I think what inspired me most was just the absurdity of the show and the material itself. The mini-plays we performed carried such an array of emotions and offerings. From 3 line scenes about relationships to hilarious commercials for dolls of famous dutch painters, we had it all. I think what I want myself and the audience to take from the production is to just embrace whatever happens next. I get caught up in my own head a lot of the time, and it’d be better for me to just embrace the absurdity of life like how I embraced the show.”

Winter Art Show
March 4, 2021
The Winter Art Show is another tradition at Urban where a group of seniors works on a single project for 12 consecutive weeks. The course culminates in a final exhibition where each student talks about their process, inspiration and meaning behind their respective pieces.

Winter Combos Concert
March 18, 21, 2021
The Winter Combos Concert is a collaboration between the music ensembles at Urban. The concert not only celebrates their skills and growth as musicians, but is representative of their dedication and perseverance.

Welcome Back!
March 22, 2021
Students were invited onto campus for Hybrid Urban orientation, marking the first time Blues sat in the same room as their classmates this school year!

Season 2 Begins
March 22, 2021 – May 1, 2021
For six weeks the Co-ed Track and Field team, Boys Tennis team, Baseball team and Girls and Boys Lacrosse teams were finally back in action competing against fellow Bay Area schools including Lick-Wilmerding, University and Marin Academy. Though they had a slightly shorter season, Urban’s fencing team was able to compete from April 12, 2021 – May 7, 2021.

Caleb Lee ‘22
“Our team [Boys Tennis] was super duper chill and it was such a casual atmosphere most of the time. However, when it mattered, we were able to shift into 4th gear and really give it our all.”

Blues House in Your House
April 30, 2021

Season 3 Begins
May 3, 2021 – June 5, 2021
The last of the three seasons began on May 3, marking the first games to be held in the Salkind Center gym in over a year. Although there were no NSC playoffs, Boys and Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Soccer, and Girls and Boys Volleyball competed in the Bay Counties League (BCL) as usual.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 2021
This May, leaders and members of the Asian Pacific Islander affinity group (API) hosted three events in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). Events ranged from discussions of the importance and impacts of fast fashion to hula history to the differences between decolonization and de-assimilation.

Girl Talk
May 6, 2021
Girl Talk is an event that uplifts the stories and experiences of women and this year supported students through the chat as well as the reaction buttons on Zoom. Students share pieces that they have written, challenging themselves and the audience to think critically about society and the gender expectations the United States has normalized.

Eloise Brotzman ‘21
“I was reminded that I’m a very emotional person and that that is okay. My piece wasn’t even nearly as vulnerable or deeply personal as some of the other pieces, but I still got emotional while I was reading it. I think this is because I’m really sensitive to other people’s emotions, and I tend to really absorb them, which made me feel a bit overwhelmed, but in the best way. It was cathartic.”

Senior Ditch-Day
May 7, 2021

Spring Music Concert
May 16, 2021

Circus Class Performance
May 27, 2021

One Acts Festival
June 4, 2021
The One Acts Festival was rehearsed and performed entirely virtually for the second time. One Acts provided seniors the chance to invent, problem-solve and lead a small group of actors to execute their creative vision.

Traylor Wallis-Smith ‘21
“[I was] really looking forward to seeing the final product of each of the directors’ visions because I know how hard all of my classmates have been working on their plays since November. I will never forget the first day that all of the directors read our plays to one another, and how much I would laugh when reading the lines in other directors’ scripts because of how much comedy there was in each line.”

Class of 2021 Graduation
June 11, 2021

Photo credits: Kathryn Doorey.