PARIS — The senior class of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School was wise when it elected Colin Edwards as student body president. As most traditions and events over the last year have bitten the COVID dust, Edwards brushed off the obstacles and helped revive school spirit back in the form of Winter Carnival. Of course, some of it was virtual and all of it was socially distant. But it happened nonetheless.

Colin Edwards will attend University of Maine Orono and eventually the New England College of Optometry. courtesy Shelly Brackett

“I’m student body president,” Edwards explained during a ZOOM interview last week. “I’ve always enjoyed putting on events for the students. Organize homecoming, winter carnival – I like having a say, making sure the events are a good time for everyone.

“This year was limited because of COVID. For homecoming? There was no football, which is a big focus of the whole thing. Homecoming wasn’t much of anything. Winter carnival? It took a lot of brainstorming. But even though it was different I think it was enjoyable for most of the students.”

Edwards’ efforts were so thorough he even won the pie-eating contest. He had not even signed up for it, but the boy in his pod/class who had entered was not in school when that took place. So Edwards volunteered to stand in for him  and  won for his group.

Pulling off winter carnival during a pandemic requires lots of planning. Edwards said he luckily had a lot of good help from other students and advisors. The usual highlight of the event, the annual basketball game pitting the school’s Unified Team against its teachers, could not be held. So the students came up with other options.

“We had to think of things that students might be interested in,” Edwards said. “I organized the class officers into sub committees. We decided on the pie eating, a burrito eating contest, a Tik Tok video submission, a cutest pet competition, an art competition for class logo, a fitness test with sit-ups and push-ups, and a trivia contest.”


Normally winter carnival has a big buildup to it the week before and much of the action takes place in the gym with pep rallies, the basketball game and other competitions. This year that just wasn’t possible so Edwards and his coordinators found new ways to bring the school together.

“It was unfortunate but we made the best of it and did what we could,” Edwards said. “One of the most popular ZOOM events was the pie eating contest. It’s usually on Friday and has one boy and one girl from each class. Because we’re in pods right now, we did it on two days so instead of eight competitors we had 16.

“The contest was in person in the cafeteria, socially distanced with four tables spread out. There was a ZOOM camera on each person. The teachers put the link up on the board in the classrooms so kids at school could watch, and they could watch from home, too.”

To make sure teachers had a prideful stake in the carnival, Luchador Tacos sponsored a teacher burrito-eating contest, similar to the pie-eating contest.

“Students enjoyed watching the teachers get after it,” Edwards said.

Since restrictions meant no concession, organizers handed out snacks to the entire school instead.


Colin Edwards popped 400 of bags of popcorn and snagged 700 freezer pops for OHCHS’ winter carnival week. Supplied photo

“I bought 700 freezer pops,” Edwards said. For like $30. People looked at me like I was crazy, walking around with a cart full of freezer pops. I bought the store out.

“And I rented a commercial popcorn machine. I popped 400 bags of popcorn at home. My mom helped me and it took us about six hours. The house smelled like a movie theater for probably four days afterwards.”

Normally carnival takes place the week before February vacation. Since this year students can only be in the school two days a week (and the school had to close before vacation because of flooding), Edwards said they spread it over two weeks so everyone got to participate. It kicked off the Monday after vacation, Feb. 22, and ran until Mar. 5.

The usual activities, like the basketball game, arm-wrestling contests and dodge ball games had to be called off. The gym was closed so no competitions or pep rallies could take place.

“The unified basketball is usually a big deal,” Edwards said. “It’s always a really cool highlight, to see the kids on the team be the center of attention and be on a big stage.”

During his final year at OHCHS Edwards has been able to maintain some of his out-of-school routine despite the pandemic. The varsity football center and team captain did not have the final season he expected but he stays active at the gym, lifting and tackling the rock wall.


OHCHS senior Colin Edwards of Harrison is an avid skiier. Supplied photo

He spends a lot of time skiing, especially when his older brother Ethan is off from his engineering job on an oil rig supply ship. They have gone on ski trips as far away as Vermont and another out west is on their bucket list.

“Maybe Colorado or Wyoming. Jackson Hole has always interested me,” Edwards said. “We’ll spend a weekend at Saddleback before winter is over.”

Next fall Edwards will start school at University of Maine Orono and plans to attend the New England College of Optometry in Boston after.

“I’ve always been fascinated in eyes and vision,” he said. “Then in eighth grade I was sitting in my optometrist’s office and thought that ‘this would be a really cool job. I can see myself doing this.’ Since then it’s kind of been my dream.

“I spent time talking with my optometrist about it, telling him my plans. He was surprised. I’ve never really met anyone else who’s interested in becoming one. It’s amazing how the eyes work. It’s very complex.”

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