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Despite COVID-19, which has made organizing events difficult, the Student Government Association (SGA) began preparing for the annual tradition of the Lightning Oscars by kicking off Lightning Oscars nominations via an online google form. Co-Chair of Lightning Oscars and junior Julia Ross said she was initially concerned that the nomination process would be hindered since it is usually publicized on campus; however, she said this year’s nomination process was just as, if not more efficient. Ross said this was due to the student class Canvas course that was installed as it provides email and text message reminders to students.

“Surprisingly, we had more nominations this year than any other year,” Ross said. “We believe that the addition of the class Canvas course made it much easier for people to find and fill out the nomination form.”

SGA adviser Danielle Nascimento said she is elated that SGA was able to pull together a successful nomination process to inspire so many students to engage in the event. Nascimento said that the pandemic shouldn’t discourage the SGA from continuing to put together this tradition.

“I think continuing traditions are very important,” Nascimento said. “I love the saying ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ and that’s truly what I have taught my students.”

One student who expressed this excitement towards the nomination process was senior Lana Martin. Martin said she was nominated for “Most Likely to Have a Reality TV Show” and that she took part in Lightning Oscars this year as she wanted her senior year to be memorable.

“I thought this year I should participate because I might as well make the best of this year and do something fun for once, I just thought this would be a moment to remember,” Martin said. “I don’t want my senior to not have any fun memories because of COVID, and I’m already doing American Musical Theatre from 9 to 5 and I didn’t want that to just be the highlight of my senior year.”

Martin said she actively campaigned on her Instagram account by posting graphics to try to stand out with her peers for a nomination. She said she decided to run for the “Most Likely to Have a Reality TV Show” category because it resonated with her personality.

“When I was looking through the nomination categories, the only thing that really stood out to me was the Reality TV show one because I thought it would be really funny,” Martin said. “I was actually talking about this with my family and we all agreed that our family should have a reality TV show because there’s a lot of drama that happens.”

Junior Reece Pounder also participated in Lightning Oscars and campaigned for his nomination for “Most Talented” on social media as well. He said he interpreted the category as for students who are talented in a certain niche, and Pounder said he feels he is talented at computer science, which is why he ran for this category.

“I have a special talent for computers and cybersecurity that many people get stunned by,” Pounder said. “I thought it might be a potential avenue to garner support and win an award, so I made graphics like ‘Vote Reece Pounder for Most Talented at Cypress Bay or Get Hacked’, which got the word out in a funny way while still conveying that I’m good at computers.”

Pounder said he wanted to join the nomination process because his friends were also running for different categories. He said he wanted to join and campaign with his friends as a joke; however, he’s found the nomination process to be worthwhile and he and his friends are working together and collaborating to try to win the nomination process.

“To be frank, there wasn’t anything special about it other than I thought it might be fun to do and have a great laugh if I win with my friends,” Pounder said. “My friends and I have been working a lot together and we’ve been using some of the same marketing strategies we used for the Zach Ulman senior presidential campaign to pull this off.” 

Nascimento said that the pandemic has been a valuable learning experience for her SGA students. She said this was because it taught them to improvise to continue producing events that maintain the integrity of the Bay’s school spirit.

“We will always have challenges along the way,” Nascimento said. “What’s important is to not let these obstacles get in your way but look at them as an opportunity to do something new or in a different way.”