Let’s celebrate our kids – this newsletter is dedicated to the amazing can-do spirit of our students who are leading the way and showing us all what it means to put the ‘we’ before ‘me’. With many of the normalities of life on hold right now, we are all looking for ways to stay motivated, get connected and celebrate those important milestones that take on an even greater significance during these unprecedented times. For many, spring means celebrating the end of the school year and coming together at graduation events and award banquets, final concerts or art shows, field trips, and the start of the outdoor athletic season.
Managing the transitions to different grades and schools will look different this year, and I know that the uncertainty of when and how we can safely celebrate these cherished moments weighs heavily on students, parents, teachers and administrators alike. There is no easy substitute for all the opportunities our kids have lost due to this pandemic, but I have no doubt that we will persevere and find our way through this stronger than ever. As a mom of a high school senior and graduating middle schooler, this hits home and my heart goes out to the Class of 2020. As a Glenbrook South senior captured in a recent piece in the school e-newspaper, it hurts, especially because there are no ‘do overs’ for what they will miss.
Leaders in our school districts will soon announce alternative plans for the end of the year activities. We can expect that many of these events will be postponed, reimagined or moved online. Like so many aspects of our lives in the last two months, we will all need to work together to make the best of these new arrangements. Even as things change, I am amazed by the innovation, generosity, empathy and resilience shown by our community in the last weeks and particularly those students whose lives have been dramatically upended.
I am dedicating this newsletter to our kids, and by extension their teachers and families. We are highlighting some of the good works done by schools and individual students to help our community during these challenging times. Let’s do what we can to support them as they plan for their future.
In closing, I would like to congratulate our graduates and wish them all the best in the future. We are so proud of you. Know that we understand and hurt with you as your high school career was impacted by something completely out of your control. I look forward to a time when we can celebrate your accomplishments in person. In the meantime, please enjoy these stories about our students and schools helping our community.
Be well, finish strong.
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
Glenbrook North Junior Makes Free Deliveries
Everyone has to eat yet not everyone can easily get to or feel safe in a crowded grocery store. This reality inspired Glenbrook North junior Sophia Sparacio to offer pick-up and delivery to area residents that have mobility constraints. Sophia has made about a dozen deliveries in the community over the last few weeks, using her downtime to help solve a problem. Although the delivery service was free, many people insisted on paying Sophia; as a result, she was able to donate over $300 in tips to the Northfield Food Pantry. Thank you for your positive energy and compassion Sophia.
Niles Township High School Prototypes PPE for Health Care Front Line
Most of us are aware that healthcare workers frequently do not have all the personal protection equipment (PPE) they need, which puts them and patients at risk. The students in the Engineering, Science and Business Course at Niles Township stepped in to help by designing and producing a prototype of a face shield. View a video about their efforts by clicking here. New Trier students are also making various PPE.
Evanston Township High School Feeds Community Families
Food insecurity is on the rise as many families face interruptions in employment. The Nutrition Services Department of Evanston Township High School working with ETHS volunteers prepared thousands of free meals in the past weeks for community members. Each delivery included a special message from an ETHS student. Glenview School District 34 is also providing contact-less drive-up meal pick-up. Check your school district website to see if they offer similar services.
Take an AWE Walk to Relieve Stress with New Trier Psych Students
There’s no getting around it: life during a pandemic is very stressful, requiring many of us to find new ways to maintain our mental health. Students in a New Trier High School (District 203) Psychology class were asked to take a walk to locate images that could reduce stress during the stay-at-home period. You can view their slideshow on Facebook by clicking here.
Beauty Brake: Loyola Academy Offers Online Art Showcase
Like taking a nature walk, creating a work of art can help people process the emotional challenges of Covid-19. Art students at Loyola Academy were asked to respond to the current crisis by creating a work that reflects their life. View the online gallery here.
Glenbrook North Thanks Essential Workers
Mr. Rogers was fond of saying “look for the helpers – there are always people willing to help”. These days, essential workers – staff in healthcare facilities, first responder roles or stores – are the ultimate helpers, putting their lives on the line to keep our community functioning. To thank them, Glenbrook North students and staff members developed a video to show their appreciation. View it here.
Wilmette and Evanston / Skokie Students Reach Out to Seniors
Because they may be more susceptible to illness, elderly residents are cautioned to remain in their homes or care facilities. But that can significantly reduce interaction with community members. Students at Wilmette District 39 and Evanston/Skokie District 65 brightened the day of seniors at The Grove of Skokie and the Highlands assisted living center by delivering letters, jokes, photos, and flowers. View some of their e-cards here.
Thank you to all who participated in these good works. Your commitment to our community is inspiring. And a special thank you to the neighbors who volunteered to help my staff make wellness calls to seniors in the district. I know that these are just some of the initiatives taking place in our community and schools. If you want to share more good news, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our office is offering yard signs like the one I am holding below to thank healthcare and essential workers and first responders. Yard signs are free and delivered safely to your home. To request one, please fill out this form.