Traditions Triumph Over Pandemic Trials and Tribulations
As Post Oak High School students work to complete final projects and IB requirements, end-of-year traditions act as the “light at the end of the tunnel” to conclude a productive semester. However, these cherished activities were forced to undergo significant changes due to the present pandemic. Students were challenged to transform events typically based on community “together time” into appropriately “social distanced time.” The End-of-Year Planning Committee, led by Dr. Jamie Lee Ph.D., worked tirelessly to create multiple Zoom meetings that brought joy and camaraderie to students despite mandatory distancing.
The first group gathering was in honor of Mr. James Moudry, the high school director who has accepted a headmaster position in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Moudry spearheaded the creation of the high school and worked alongside the first faculty members to construct a curriculum that would allow students to learn valuable life lessons both in and outside of the classroom. Former Headmaster, John Long, faculty, and students shared their treasured memories and expressed their sincere gratitude towards Mr. Moudry as he continues on with the next chapter of his career.
There was also a focused event for the seniors. Students and faculty participated in a “Senior Kahoot” to learn fun facts and quirks about the graduating class. One would think that by being in a high school with 87 people, the community would know everything about everyone. Surprisingly, there were some unexpected facts about the soon-to-be graduates that had yet to be discovered! The seniors, feeling slightly more exposed, shared their words of wisdom to younger high school students. This valuable tradition allows seniors to reflect on their high school experience and advise their fellow peers.
The next day, students participated in a community Scribble tournament. This online pictionary competition had multiple rounds and eventually led to the ultimate championship. Since the game was projected onto the Zoom screen, everyone in the high school is now familiar with the artistic capabilities of each community member.
The final virtual community activity was The Campfire. Each year, the community crowds around a campfire during the end-of-year retreat. This time, students gathered around a “virtual campfire” at night to sing songs and share final “thank yous” and “goodbyess” to peers and faculty. This bittersweet event never fails to leave tears in the eyes of even the toughest flag football players.
The High School Parade was the first community event where students and faculty could see each other beyond a screen. Families stayed in their cars while faculty waved them goodbye and welcomed them to summer break. A few weeks later, the Graduation Ceremony took place at the McGovern Centennial Gardens. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and practicing proper distancing, seniors walked across the stage wearing their green robe and traditional custom-created stole. Personalized stoles are designed for each senior by one of their peers. The seniors received their diploma and a commemorative pen. The pen, a gift from Mr. James Moudry, is symbolic of the graduate’s ability to write their own story in the future and remain committed to the ideals of The Post Oak School.
Through perseverance and creative efforts, the Post Oak High School shared a unique conclusion to an unforgettable year.
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