By Aileen Mitarotonda, Grade 7
Last year, at the beginning of 2020, no one saw this worldwide crisis coming. Peter Stamm, a teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Academy (SHCA) said his expectations for 2020 were pretty high.
“There were a lot of things I was expecting in 2020,” Stamm said. “I was expecting a really awesome graduation for a really great class that graduated last year. I was expecting a lot of different things to happen.”
Students found out that school was closing down on Friday, March 13, 2020. Online school would be for a week and then returning back to in-person classes. Many were happy to have the break, others were sad they wouldn’t be able to see each other. Now was the time for SHCA to execute a quick plan for the weeks to follow.
Every week, teachers and classmates communicated through Zoom and taught students everything they would be doing in-person. Everything was going well, but then as time passed, everyone started losing hope. Clark Whitsett, a parent of five students at SHCA became aware that school would reopen for in-person five days a week in September.
“I was surprised that the diocese was able to obtain permission from the State of New York to open the schools and I thought it was a good decision,” Whitsett said.
During the pandemic, teachers, students and parents were forced to rely on faith. Fortitude is a virtue that helps people to be courageous and stick to God’s will and overcome fear. During remote learning, the students at SHCA had religion class at the end of each day. The teachers and parents always encouraged the students to work hard and take responsibility for the work that was assigned.
Jaylin Reyes, a student at SHCA explained, “Keeping my faith, during these rough times with the pandemic, really helped. I think religion class helped me see a brighter side to what was going on.”
But what about the parents? Did they show courage?
“As a parent, my greatest education challenge was staying on top of them to make sure they were doing whatever work they were given because they were not going into school on a day to day basis and having someone check up on that,” Whitsett said.
What would students have done without their parents? Through the pandemic, teachers were always willing to help whether it was educational or personal.
“By knowing that we were going to be there for our students, it sort of gave me a purpose,” Stamm said.
The SHCA family was always strong but has proven that even through a global pandemic, they are stronger now and ever before thanks to the courageous efforts of parents, teachers,and students.