VillaVoice_Summer_2020 FINAL - Page 10

HIGHLIGHTS & HAPPENINGS Villa teachers, staff, and administration participated in a video that messaged encouragment and cheer. Amid the logistical and pedagogical challenges of distance learning was the pressing need to stay connected with students and help care for their emotional needs during a time of historic social upheaval. As a resource to families, St. Ursula Villa Counselor Susan Friedman offered to help parents with questions or concerns as well as provide one-on-one or small group counseling with students via Zoom videoconferences. Villa teachers kept students engaged with their classmates through regular check-ins and group Zoom sessions where they participated in group discussions, lessons, and activities together. Teachers maintained their strong student/teacher bond through many creative ways such as Gym Teacher Beth Hake relocating the “Free Throw Challenge” to students at home in their driveways, Spanish Teacher Drew Williams musically accompanying a 6th grader’s “porch performance” from the canceled Talent Show, teachers delivering “Certificates of Completion” to preschoolers’ homes and waving to them from the street, Junior High teachers dropping off “Class of 2020 Quarantine” shirts and yard signs, and all Villa faculty sending messages of love and support in a video titled “We Villa Get Through This!” We celebrate our extraordinary St. Ursula Villa community of students, parents, administrators, faculty, and staff who demonstrated support, faith, flexibility, and patience and truly lived out St. Angela’s words in our Ursuline school theme, “If we stand united in heart, we will be strong in adversity!” Health and safety guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many special school highlights including the Talent Show, Stations of the Cross, Gino DiMario Fine Arts Festival, 8th Grade Class Trip, and May Party; First Communion is tentatively rescheduled for this fall. Several Villa 8th grade traditions - May Crowning and Graduation - were creatively reinvented to honor the participants while accommodating social distancing protocols. May Crowning was observed on a beautiful May afternoon when Maria Halaby, Addison Roney, and Kate Sullivan, all selected by their peers for exemplifying Mary’s characteristics, gathered separately on the Manor House lawn and Maria placed a floral crown on the statue of Mary. Students shared readings and reflections and each member of the 8th-grade class joined the “ceremony” 9