Sophomore Katie Rueff wins Gunn mask decorating competition

This week, the Student Executive Council (SEC) launched their first social media-based event of the school year: a mask decorating competition that announced sophomore Katie Rueff as the winner.

After selecting the top ten participants, SEC created an Instagram poll that allowed students to vote on those submissions. The next day, they announced that the winner of the competition was Rueff.

Rueff’s design consisted of a black-colored mask with “Gunn” written across the front in red, lowercase font. “I wanted to make [the mask] Gunn themed, and recently I have been really into calligraphy,” she said. “I found out from my friends that I won the competition because I do not use my account that much. I was pretty surprised.”

This mask, designed by sophomore Katie Rueff, was voted most popular by students on Instagram.

Wearing a facial covering has become a regular part of going outside, and as such, the concept of DIY masks has been circulating the internet, inspiring people to design their own masks. “I don’t know if the designs are used to create masks, but I like the idea,” Rueff said. “And I guess I’ve seen a lot of other people design masks on their YouTube channels, so I was like, ‘Oh, I want to try that.’”

With school currently in distance learning mode, traditional events such as Homecoming and inter-grade competitions have been severely limited. However, to replicate and maintain the school spirit celebrated by these activities, the SEC has been exploring new options.

Special Events Commissioner junior Jeannie Chung was among the commissioners tasked to develop a new idea for online student contests. After bouncing around a few topics, Chung’s team came up with one they felt would be fitting for these times. “On the topic of the pandemic and the theme of that, we decided we wanted to do something creative and not too difficult,” Chung said. “With that, we came up with a mask decorating competition.”

As the first event of the school year, SEC launched the mask decorating competition on Aug. 21 with requirements and instructions posted on their Instagram, @gunnhstitans.

Students were given two weeks (until Sept. 6) to develop and submit a unique, creative design. Participation was unexpectedly high. “We did not think we would get a lot of participation, so getting 18 submissions was nice,” Chung said. “We also got submissions from each grade, so it was good to see all four grades participate.”

Rueff likes the idea of SEC expanding their reach in order to increase student participation in the future. “I have an Instagram, but I never use it, so it’s probably not the best way of doing things,” she said. “But since the events do have to be online, I think they should definitely reach out to other platforms.”

According to Chung, there will be more virtual SEC events to come. “As long as we are not in school, in the future, we are going to try to incorporate competitions, virtual rallies and school activities online,” she said.