Rock Bridge seniors Madi Polnika left, 18, Kennedy Robbins, center, 18, and Joseph Gard, right, 18, talk in the school parking lot on April 18 at Rock Bridge High School. The three talked about what was happening in their lives now that their year had been cut short.
Mike Zweifel, a member of the Boone County Republican Committee, watches the presidential election on Nov. 3 at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia. "We actually had a watch party, which was pretty amazing," Zweifel said. "It was just nice to be out and be with my fellow Republicans at the event." After months of anticipation, some Columbia residents gathered to watch election results roll in at events held by candidates or political parties. Most residents turned to TVs and phones for constant updates as thousands of ballots were counted each hour. Around 9:30 p.m., the incumbent President Donald Trump won the state of Missouri, according to The Associated Press. Ultimately, Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the election after getting 306 electoral votes to President Trump’s 232.
Shakespeare’s Pizza airs Joe Biden speaking for the first time as President-elect on Nov. 7 in downtown Columbia. In his speech, Biden emphasized nationwide unity and his plan to “restore the soul of America.” Following the announcement of Biden's victory, cheers erupted in downtown Columbia, but pro-Trump protests also followed.
A cluster of Trump supporters show off signs and flags at the intersection of W. High St. and Broadway on Nov. 7 in front of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. Supporters from across Missouri traveled to Jefferson City to rally in favor of President Trump, who lost the 2020 presidential election. The protest, which mirrored "Stop The Steal" events across the country, was set off by unfounded claims of voter fraud and illegal voting practices in the 2020 presidential election made by President Donald Trump via Twitter. Some demonstrators were armed, and some signs included calls for violence.
MU Health Care acute care pharmacy manager Drew Jett looks over his shoulder as he pushes a cart with the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines down a hallway on Dec. 15 at University Hospital in Columbia. The hospital began administering 900 doses of the vaccine to workers on Dec. 16. To-date there have been more than 13,000 cases of COVID-19 in Boone County since the first reported case on March 17.
Rabbi Phil Cohen clears the top of his podium on Dec. 14 in Columbia. In addition to being a rabbi, Cohen is also a fiction writer and is the author of Nick Bones Underground, which won a finalist award for debut fiction from the Jewish Book Council.
Faculty and staff from multiple elementary schools load boxes onto the back of a truck on Dec. 24 at the Conley road Hy-Vee in Columbia. “The gift of giving to families in need, that’s magic,” said Susan Lloyd, not pictured. “This is what Christmas is about … it’s about spending time to help bring peace to the world.”
Jeremiah Scull guides his 3-year-old reindeer, Donner and Vixen, for a Christmas light show Dec. 16 in Columbia. Scull and his family operate Show-Me Reindeer out of Robertsville, Mo. “We saw reindeer being shipped in,” Scull said. “We were looking for a hobby animal, and we knew there weren’t a lot of people in Missouri who keep reindeer. Not a lot of people keep reindeer for a long time. It takes a lot to train them 365 days out of the year.”
Two plants, the left a grown one and the right a nursery clipping, on Sept. 18 in Earth City. After establishing which plants produce the best flowers, growers use cuttings to breed consistent products. BeLeaf starts its cuttings on an aeroponic watering system before transferring them to a potted medium to finish blossoming.
Bursts of activity are followed by periods of mostly silent waiting in the counting room of the Boone County Clerk’s Office as each polling station’s vote totals are read by the computer. “I just really enjoy the process of election administration and being a part of the core activity that keeps democracy working,” Brianna Lennon, Boone County Clerk said. “I’m exceptionally nerdy.”
People line up to vote Nov. 3 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Several thousand people were expected to show up and cast their vote at the Arena, one of the two central polling stations in Boone County. Nearly 92 thousand people voted in Boone County during the 2020 presidential election, according to the Boone County Clerk's office.
MU senior Atina Kamasi and MU junior Cason Suggs, center, lead hundreds of protesters down Tiger Ave. on Sept. 2 through MU campus. The university's Black Student Athlete Association, co-founded by Kamasi and Suggs, and supporters of Black Lives Matter marched from MU's columns into Memorial Stadium for March with Mizzou. The march, which mirrored movements against racial injustice and systemic racism in more than 150 American cities, was held in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and other Black Americans targeted, injured or murdered by police.
A red sun sets over the Missouri River on Sept. 15 near Cooper’s Landing. The red hue comes from smoke that has drifted east all the way from the millions of acres of fires on the west coast. The unusual fire season out there is a sign of the times — climate change has made California’s already long fire season even longer. Across the Sierras it is estimated that fire seasons are 75 days longer now than they were before anthropogenic climate change.
Rock Bridge Cheerleader Brooklyn Woodruff arches her back in midair to fall back into the hands of her cheer team on Sept. 18 at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia. "It feels like I'm floating," Woodruff said. "You have to stay tight while also staying fluent with it."
Members of Alpha Phi decorate Yellow Dog Book Shop on Oct. 15 in downtown Columbia. Although the football game against Vanderbilt was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the campus is still celebrating homecoming with traditional activities like Decorate the District.
Juston Sharp readies himself for a boxing match on Oct. 17 at a field outside of Jefferson Middle School in Columbia. Sharp trains in hopes to take his boxing to a professional level. The series of boxing matches, with participants getting together to spar and train, were started by Gary Lewis in an attempt to "chill the violence in town."
Foam sprays out of a gash as firefighters from the Boone County Fire District work to cool off the inside of the big bur oak tree after it was struck by lightning on the morning of Oct. 23. The tree, which is estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old, was hit on its north side and splintered as a result. Columbia resident Cody Spencer was the first person to find the tree that morning. In the weeks following, the tree's condition was still unclear. Ann Koenig, an urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said the tree's health all comes down to damage of its cambium: the growth tissue located just beneath the bark. "It was like a bomb had gone off," Spencer said. I had a moment of shock and called 911. I didn't know whether to cry, you know?"
The Battle Spartans celebrate a win against the Washington Blue Jays while posing for photos with their Class 5 District 4 first-place trophy Nov. 13 in Washington, Mo. The Spartans won 27-7, claiming their sixth district title in seven years. Atiyyah Ellison saw his first quarterfinal win as head coach at Battle High School. Battle continued on to play against the Fort Zumwalt North Panthers on Nov. 20 at the state quarterfinal game. In the end, the Spartans’ postseason was ended by the Panthers for the second year in a row.
The Rev. Deon Johnson reacts to a coworker while waiting to hand out communion to members in cars on Aug. 30 in the parking lot of Calvary Episcopal Church in Columbia. Johnson was ordained as bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri in June.
Students and parents line up outside on Sept. 8 at West Middle School in Columbia. Students had received iPads to use from home since public schools were not in-person for most of the fall. Each middle school in the Columbia Public Schools district had a CPS technician on site to help parents and students fix any iPad problems.
Jefferson City High School assistant coach Steve Sampson calls the team's attention for a play on Sept. 18 in Jefferson City, Mo. The Jefferson City Jays won their game that night. The team was knocked out in the first round of the class 5 tournament, in their game against Camdenton.
Molly Petrie and Mitchell Forde share a chair as the two watch the 68th annual Columbia firework show on July 4 from a hill near Scott Boulevard and Route KK. Petrie, who is studying in Kansas City, was here for the weekend to visit Forde.
Police and protestors face off during a night of protests at the Ferguson Police Department on May 30 in Ferguson, Mo. Protests broke out in cities all over the United States this summer in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Hundreds of protesters marched from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton to University City, closing the Forest Park Parkway for just over two hours. A demonstration was held later in the evening at the Ferguson Police Department, where protesters asked for Ferguson police officers to take a knee with them in memory of George Floyd. Later into the night, police responded to fireworks and other objects thrown with tear gas and less-lethal beanbag rounds.
Dr. John Dodam fondly looks at one of the MU Mule Club mules July 10 in Columbia. Rose and Bess, two 2-year-old Belgian mules and understudies of Tim and Terry, will serve as mascots of the club. "With mules, you develop more of a partnership than with horses," Dodam said. The Missouri Mule Team is cared for by the Mule Club at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The club is composed of veterinary students who exercise, groom, and feed the mules. They also travel with the mules by truck and trailer to events throughout the state.
Jahdilyah Encarnacion and other graduates and guests listen to a videotaped address by graduate William Henderson on August 2, at the Battle High School graduation ceremony in Columbia. “Whatever you go and do there is no doubt in my mind that every single person sitting in these seats today has the power to live the life that they want to live,” said Henderson. Graduates and guests assembled at 9 a.m. for the first of four graduation ceremonies. Graduates walked across the stage at the school’s performing arts center to receive their diplomas and congratulatory elbow bumps from school officials.
Volunteer Matthew Hall watches the ripples in the Missouri River as he waits for boat racers to arrive on August 5 at Cooper’s Landing in Boone County. Hall started volunteering for the Missouri River 340 race around 5 years ago. Hall’s grandfather used to compete in the race, and Hall was planning to compete with a family friend. After the friend couldn’t compete, Hall began volunteering.
Participants gather at the Boone County Courthouse for a protest rally and march organized by Markiez Smith and Christopher Watkins and held at 2 p.m. June 7 in Columbia. At one point the long line of protesters marching east on Rogers Street past Douglass Park extended around the corner and down North Providence Road.
A group of incoming freshman run through the Columns on Aug. 19 for Tiger Walk, a signature part of the University of Missouri's Welcome Week, at Francis Quadrangle in Columbia. Instead of the usual massive, class-wide event, Tiger Walk was broken up into multiple, smaller groups to adhere to new COVID-19 guidelines.
Heather Jones, a science teacher at Smithton Middle School, wades into a cloud of smoke to monitor the flames from a controlled prairie burn on Aug. 21 at Two Mile Prairie Elementary School. Columbia Public Schools partnered with the state Department of Conservation in a series of educational lessons for CPS faculty throughout the summer. Jones was one of nine teachers from seven schools that took part in the burn. Teachers said they will be able to use what they learned at the event to educate students about the ecology in their own backyards.
Kinzer Wilson watches the action on an adjacent field on June 8 at Antimi Sports Complex in Columbia. Wilson's sister, McKinley Wilson, 8, was playing. The Diamond Council of Columbia kicked off its baseball and softball season on June 8 at Antimi Sports Complex. Established in 1963, the council provides opportunities for youth of various ages to play sports. The start of the season was delayed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A police officer looks at a blocked Providence Road on June 2 in downtown Columbia. The crowd gathered in the intersection between Providence and Broadway, the same place two women got hit the night before.
From left, Amiya Burnett, 13, and Faith Stodgell, 13, play in the pool on June 12 at Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center in Columbia. A reduced number of patrons were allowed in to the aquatic center for two separate 2-hour sessions, with a half hour break in between to allow for staff to disinfect surfaces. Signs reminding patrons to maintain social distancing were placed in prominent locations around the pool area. According to aquatic supervisor Janel Twehous, many pools in surrounding communities remained closed.
Edward Ge, right, asks Jack Goddard to prevent their rocket from falling to the ground on Feb. 16 at Foremost Dairy Research Center in Columbia. This was the first time Ge and Goddard attempted to launch their rocket. It ended as a failure, the two assuming that the rocket kept falling because there was not enough helium in the balloon to lift it.
Chris Morrey, left, and Joanna Hearne on March 6 at True/False March March, in downtown Columbia. The beauty of the True/False Film Fest's March March lies in the people joining in. There is no doubt that if no one marched, played music, danced and — most importantly — had fun, this parade wouldn't happen. People anxiously await the event because March March is where all the worlds collide, bringing everyone from different backgrounds to the True/False kickoff.
Head coach Robin Pingeton comforts Missouri guard Jordan Chavis in the second half of their game against University of Tennessee on March 5 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. The University of Missouri women’s basketball team lost 64-51.
Anna Donelson speaks with a patient at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on March 18 at Boone Hospital Center. Patients were required to talk to a doctor before being tested. Columbia’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced March 17. As of now, there have been more than 13,000 cases and 50 deaths in Boone County, according to Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services.
A woman walks her dog on the University of Missouri campus on March 19. It was confirmed later in 2020 that dogs could catch COVID-19. The first dog to test positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. died of the disease in July.
From left, Conor Campbell, 6, and Max Marple, 6, greet Chalupa Batman on March 31 in their Wyndham Ridge neighborhood in Columbia. The Columbia Equestrian Center took miniature horses to different locations around Columbia to cheer residents up during the coronavirus outbreak. Donations of $5 were collected to help the center continue running during the pandemic. With a donation, the horse would graze in a family’s yard for five minutes, although children could not pet them to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In April, the center was notified that it was not an essential business and needed to stop the practice.
Father Francis Doyle conducts Palm Sunday Mass to rows of empty pews on April 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Columbia. He used a smartphone to record Mass and later uploaded the video to YouTube for parishioners to watch from home. COVID-19 forced many religious institutions to get creative with how they performed services.
Marjorie Williams helps her kids, from left, Makaria Williams, 7, and Maximilian Williams, 9, with school on May 7 in Columbia. Makaria and Maximilian both studied at Locust Elementary School. After public schools shut down many parents also had to become teachers.
Left: Cyler Mitchell, 12, gets in a sleeping bag on the roof of his car on May 8 at B&B Moberly 5 and Drive in Moberly. Mitchell and his family frequented the drive-in prior to COVID-19 and came back for its reopening. Right: People sit in their cars as the movie, Groundhog Day, starts on May 8 at B&B Moberly 5 and Drive in Moberly. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people were required to stay in their cars to watch the film.
Sohaila Bakr spreads the dough to make samosas on April 20 in Columbia. It’s the first time Bakr is spending Ramadan alone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, she would go to the Islamic Center of Central Missouri to celebrate.
Fred Williams visits the cattle with his daughter Isabelle Williams, 7, on May 19 on their farm in Clarksburg, Mo. Fred said he grew up working on his grandparents' farm and wanted to give his children the same opportunity to work on the land.
Jodie Lenser, a library staff member, organizes books returned by readers on May 19 at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia. Returned books are quarantined in a separate room for three days before they are put back on the shelves.
Marley Cox, who volunteers with Medals4mettle-Columbia, gives a handmade flower and a certificate to Sharon Brinton at the Flower Spectacular on Feb. 14 at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia. Medals4mettle-Columbia is a public charity that awards medals to people fighting terminal illnesses.
Pavan Rao celebrates the Chiefs’ final touchdown Feb. 2 at a Super Bowl watch party in Kansas City. The Chiefs came back from a 10-point deficit to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years. The Power & Light district’s KC Live! venue opened at 9 a.m., and by 11 a.m. thousands had flocked in for the 5:30 p.m. kickoff. The party was hosted by Kansas City sports broadcasters Nate Bukaty and Aly Trost. “Look around,” Bukaty told the crowd. “Remember this. Because this is historic.”
Crowds flock together in a sea of red around Grand Boulevard and the National WWI Museum and Memorial for the Super Bowl parade and rally Feb. 5 in Kansas City. Throughout the day, the Kansas City Chiefs and fans celebrated its first Super Bowl win in 50 years.
LEFT: My great-grandfather Ralph Reed’s bedroom. A pair of jeans sit on the bed and a shotgun shell lies in the nightstand. RIGHT: A lamp sits near a tub of photographs at my grandfather Ron Reed’s new house in Rich Hill, Mo. He is still unpacking after recently moving into the home, which was completed in September.
Drew Anderson tosses the heart of a turkey into the trash on Nov. 25 at Knights of Columbus Hall in Columbia. Volunteers with the Rotary Club prepared 232 whole turkeys for the Thanksgiving turkey fry. The fried turkeys were then donated to six different organizations around Columbia.
Susie Adams holds up a book made by her grandson for her Zoom class Nov. 16. Adams, who co-teaches AP U.S. history and AP language, is one of about 1,500 classroom teachers in Columbia Public Schools pouring their energy and empathy into connecting with students online.
This year will be remembered most for the pandemic, but 2020 was too complex to be boiled down to one disruptive virus. The topics were layered.
With all that we’ve been forced to handle, the most visceral review of 2020 may come from the local photographs of the Columbia Missourian staff photographers.
This collection represents a fraction of the nearly 250,000 photos our staff made this year. We know it was a year like no other.
Normally, we’re consumed by high school and college athletics. This year, the number of sports images decreased with fewer events to cover and no access to Missouri football games.
We were able to provide a glimpse of what online learning looked like thanks to individuals who let us into their homes or peer through their windows.
Schools had limited access, while medical facilities were even tighter. Therefore, there has been a gap in what you get to see and learn about the frontline workers and their sacrifices.
The Black Lives Matter movement, featured in the cover photo of the Black Student Athlete Association’s March with Mizzou, was a prominent subject that spurred other, deeper stories into how we see each other.
And then, there was a presidential election.
These are just a few of the eyewitness accounts from the masked Missourian staff photographers as the year unfolded.
"Being in such a big crowd of 50,000 was overwhelming. But that didn't really seem as notable at the time as it does now. The sheer number of people is so incredible."
— Madi Winfield, Missourian photographer
"This was one of the first assignments of the year where I wore a mask. When we heard that some hospitals were going to start testing, I had some kind of feeling that this was a part of history."
— Marco Postigo Storel, Missourian photographer
“It’s a bit ironic. Before, these electronic devices isolated people, but lately, this technology has been means of uniting us.”
— Father Francis Doyle, Sacred Heart Catholic Church pastor
“I always wanted the full high school experience: buying a big prom dress, taking so many photos and just being with my friends. … Hopefully, the current seniors will have a full senior experience. I don't want them to miss out on anything like we did.”
— Jahdilyah Encarnacion, Battle High School graduate
"When I was in the front, all I saw was cameramen and the street in front of me. But when I saw the photos after the event, it just gave me chills to see that many people cared about the injustices in America that we need to fight against. I was awestruck. … I could finally relax because it was worth something. I put my emotions out there; I put everything I had out there — and it came back."
— Cason Suggs, Mizzou Black Student Athlete Association co-founder