By: Jennifer Thorell, High School Principal
In my lifetime, not one date resonated with me more than 9/11/2001, despite wonderful milestones to celebrate. That was until 3/12/2020. The day at LPS began as usual, with some murmurings of a “flu-like” illness that was becoming more of a concern in the US. It wasn’t until lunchtime when I found myself in the cafeteria with an announcement for the staff and students that something shifted. When I stated that we would be closed on Friday, March 13th for no school, the cafeteria erupted with cheers from the students. Who doesn’t like an occasional day off from school unexpectedly? “We will be learning remotely for next week and hope to see you back soon. Bring your Chromebooks and all of your belongings home with you.”
Never once at that time did I realize what laid ahead for our students, families, and staff. We were left scrambling for toilet paper and soap. Fearful to go out for groceries. The basic needs of families were left unmet. Words and phrases like pivot, new-normal, pandemic, social distancing, Zoom, quarantine, and social bubble became commonplace. And while all of this was happening, so was hope. We celebrated essential workers like they have deserved all along, spent time with those in our homes more than ever, and slowed down the race of life, and looked forward to a different time.
Our teachers learned how to navigate technological platforms at lightning speed to provide the students with a schooling experience and the students, hungry for connection, joined them. They learned together what worked, changed to make it better, remained flexible, and were compassionate. They complied to wear masks all-day in order to be together on our campus and they showed such resilience that I can only be in awe of when I reflect on where we were March 12th, 2020 and where we are on March 12th, 2021.
We will all have stories to tell, some good, some tragic, about that day and the days we lived during a pandemic, but the ones that I will remember the most are the ones where we saw resilience, showed compassion to each other, and bonded as a community needing to be together. While there is still much progress to be made, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to getting there with this community.