School Spirit on Social Media: Carnegie Vanguard Keeps Students Connected
Alongside the day’s distractions that occupy my typical Instagram feed was something I never expected to see on the Internet. My Spanish teacher popped up, scaling the road on her mountain bike. Then came my Cross-Country coach, exploring Texas wildlife on the Lone Star Hiking Trail. I was starting to see more familiar faces from school on the app that I use to procrastinate from it. In a time where I question if - and when- I’ll get the chance to see my teachers again, my school managed to bring them to me.
Over the length of time we have spent away from school due to ongoing COVID-19 circumstances, Carnegie Vanguard High School’s Instagram handle, @carnegievanguard, has been particularly active. Run by Ms. Melissa Matsu, Carnegie’s Dean of Instruction and AP Coordinator, the account is well-regarded for keeping students informed on class and campus information. It wasn’t until our physical school year shut down, that followers began to witness a surge of interactive posts alongside the account’s typical activity. While the school year reached a questionable hiatus, @carnegievanguard reached out to its community.
Starting in late March, CVHS challenged students, family, and faculty to partake in a series of virtual spirit weeks, games, and at-home activities. All CVHS community members were invited to participate, but the teachers and faculty notably rose above the challenge and became social media stars. Rounds of “Who’s Who” invited students to correctly match the faces of faculty/staff from their toddler and teenage years to their current selves. Several staff members reported from home, and gave viewers a glimpse into their pandemic pastimes.
In response to the school's inquiry, “How are you staying mentally and physically active during COVID-19?,” they showcased themselves engrossing in books, exercising, engaging in hobbies, and spending time with their families. The positivity was emanant within each post.
“They have made me more positive, since the posts feature each of the teachers/staff doing things they genuinely enjoy, and they don’t seem stressed,” said CVHS junior Madeline Hsu.
So far, @carnegievanguard’s top hit is the school staff’s remake of Kenny Loggins’ Footloose music video. Cuts of current and former faculty members “rebelliously” bringing out their dance moves, belting out lyrics, strumming along on the guitar, and simply making good fun out of it were edited into a seamless recreation of the original. The post amassed nearly 2000 views on Instagram, and swiftly became a sensation.
“Thank you, Carnegie staff, for doing this,” commented CVHS senior Emily Saether.
As CVHS entered the 2020-2021 school year virtually, @carnegievanguard recently began to spotlight the teachers who responded to another of their thematic questions, “What does your home learning space look like?” The shared snapshots of their teaching environments exhibited to students how both the teaching and the learning sides of the classroom are adjusting to life in the wake of a pandemic.
“It reminds me that teachers are also going through COVID struggles just like us,” said CVHS junior Lilly Hurysz.
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