A Year Without Wargo

Grace Goode, Staff Writer

The past year has brought extreme change for everyone as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world. Scituate has seen its own changes, especially in the school system. Not only has Scituate gained a new superintendent, William Burkhead, but the former principal of Scituate High School, Robert Wargo, left Scituate after several years. Former Assistant Principal, Dr. Lisa Maguire, stepped up as Interim Principal in January 2020 when Wargo left for his new assistant superintendent position with Weymouth Public Schools. Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, Maguire became the official principal of Scituate High School.

As junior Val McNeilly stated, the administration of a high school “has a huge impact on [a] school and community.” McNeilly believes the administration has an important role in creating an “environment students want to be in to learn” and that the administration has a responsibility to promote positive qualities in the community, such as “inclusivity, equality, spirit, [and] productivity.”

Following Wargo’s departure, Dr. Maguire was left to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in her new role as principal. McNeilly believes that the administration was able to handle the pandemic appropriately despite the transition period, calling Scituate High School’s response to the pandemic “just the same as any other.” Junior Claire Greene agrees with McNeilly, saying the SHS administration has handled the pandemic “very responsibly,” and that the administration is being “mindful” of the students’ health.

The past year has also proven to be a trying time for Dr. Maguire’s new administration, as it not only tackled the COVID-19 pandemic but several incidents of racism at Scituate High School. McNeilly believes Dr. Maguire has taken several important steps to address these issues, such as “updating the code of conduct and reinforcing expectations.” 

Junior Madeline von Freymann feels the administration has not adequately handled these issues, stating that “their reaction to situations,” as well as a “lack of transparency” has caused a “lack of student trust and support for [the administration].” According to von Freymann, over the past year, the high school environment has become “more tense and divided,” especially in reaction to the election and “situations that have occurred” at SHS. In addition, von Freymann feels the administration has “definitely not resolved any of this.” Greene agrees with von Freymann, saying the past year has brought “a lot of tension due to racist incidents” and that the new administration has poorly responded to those incidents, as they have been “swept under the rug.”

On the contrary, McNeilly believes the new administration has had a positive effect on the school environment, saying the community is “becoming more positive” and that every time she sees Dr. Maguire, “she is always smiling.”

As von Freymann said, Mr. Wargo’s departure was unexpected, and “everyone was pretty shocked because a lot of people loved Wargo.” Consequently, Wargo’s influence continues to echo through the current administration and student body: Speaking for much of Scituate High School, von Freymann stated, “We all miss him.”