After sending all students and staff home in mid-March, Hewlett-Woodmere public schools made great efforts to stay connected as a community.
District-wide Google Meet concerts, hosted by Woodmere Middle School band director Jonathan Holford, were a big hit, uniting students and teachers through music and trivia. The fantastic virtual rendition of “New York, New York” sung by the district’s staff had students laughing, and frankly impressed with the talent we heard! And check-ins by Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino Jr., streamed to students through Flipgrid, provided students with some comfort about the support Hewlett-Woodmere would provide for them in these hard times.
Hewlett High School staff and students were true leaders when it came to remaining united during the months of quarantine. Although schools are open again, this emphasize on a unified student body is not going away.
Hewlett High’s Peer Education Club appreciates how necessary it is to address the divisions that exist in our school community, and all members have been tasked with brainstorming what we can do to diminish them, on a small or large scale, to remain as one.
Facilitated by Hewlett-Woodmere’s Chairperson of Guidance Mary Harrison, PAL were assigned to underclassmen English classes to lead a discussion about the different divides that exist among our students, teach students how they can promote unity despite these separations and essentially let our freshmen and sophomore peers know that they have the power to make a change.
PAL Leaders were given print-outs of puzzle pieces for a closing activity in which students would write a compliment or words of wisdom on their puzzle piece to be later displayed around the school halls.
The discussions began Nov. 16, and will end in January for safety purposes. PAL members went into classes Nov. 16, and reported a great level of participation and interest by students and are eager to continue these discussions in January.
The first step to unifying a community is to pinpoint where divisions might exist and how it would be best to address them. Without our district’s usual social engagements, it is undeniably a challenge to remain tight-knit, but the endless efforts by student clubs such as PALS to do exactly this will keep our community strong.