Miami Trace Local School District staff and administration continue to miss their students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one group Superintendent David Lewis and many are thinking of during this time is the class of 2020.
“We recognize that this is a challenging time for everybody but when you sit back and think about your seniors and the culmination of that experience in the last month of school and all of the different activities, it hurts,” Lewis said. “Prom, award ceremonies — anything and everything leading up to graduation — we recognize this is going to be painful for those kids. We are trying to do everything that we can to honor them virtually and we have a couple of other things in the works that we are trying to do because there is still a great deal of uncertainty with the situation. We are dedicated to having a graduation ceremony, right now we are keeping that May 15th date, but in the back of my mind that is probably not realistic. So we are going to do everything in our power to have a ceremony — it may not be until June, it may not be until July — we just don’t know. We are trying to do little things so they know we haven’t forgotten about them.”
Lewis said in the meantime the school district is working on a few other options to honor the seniors’ final year at Miami Trace. One that has already started is a “Senior Spotlight” that is being posted to the website (https://www.miamitrace.k12.oh.us/) and Facebook page at “Miami Trace Local School District.”
Another way the district has decided to keep up morale is with the Virtual Spirit Challenges. Wednesday was the challenge of singing the Panther Fight Song with water in your mouth. The challenge for Thursday is the “Family Pyramid Challenge” where the district is encouraging families in quarantine to create a human pyramid and to safely see how high they can go and post photos. Finally, Friday is a “Yoga Pose Challenge,” encouraging students to stay healthy and show the administration their best yoga pose, again with photos. The community is also encouraged to tune in to the Facebook page to additionally see live readings of various books by Miami Trace staff as well as posts from the challenges.
“Doing these Spirit Week Challenges, the reading of books, just so our students and families see we are trying to help them through this time,” Lewis said. “I want to say we have a little over 200 seniors in the class of 2020. I have heard a lot of good things from our teachers and administrators about our distance learning with our seniors and all of the buildings. Our buildings are communicating all the time and they know what the expectations are, and as far as pushing out additional work and activities, our staff has done that for the kids. Just to see a lot of the neat things kids are doing at home — some may not be a part of our curriculum per se — but the real life experience they are having and completing from home is great. Our families have been very cooperative and very understanding, and are working with our staff.”
The district also said in a Facebook post that the upcoming performance for “Footloose” will be canceled, and explained how tickets could be refunded or even donated.
“In response to recent events — and in the best interest of our cast, crew, and audience members—we have decided to cancel all full performances of ‘Footloose,’” the post said. “It is our hope that at some point we will be able to have an abbreviated performance that would feature the musical selections in the show. If you have purchased tickets, you have two options. The first option is a full refund. If you require a refund, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with a refund request for the face value of your ticket (fees are non-refundable). The second option is to donate the money to the vocal music program. If you would like to offer your purchase as a donation, no further action is needed. We appreciate all of your support, and we hope to see you at future Miami Trace High School productions.”
“This has been — not that it’s a great thing — but it’s great to see how many people are putting in a lot of effort,” Lewis said. “Not just the teachers and everything they are doing for their students, but behind the scenes there is so much. Like for the senior spotlight, we are getting information back from the kids, they are sending in their pictures and we have a team of professionals here working to make them look nice. It has been great to see the efforts of everything involved and it opened our eyes to what the future could hold. We were pretty prepared, but I think we all recognize we need to be more prepared in case this would extend further or happen in the future. Education has changed.”
The information in this article was provided by the Miami Trace Local School District. For more information check the district website or Facebook page.
Reach Martin Graham on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.