Though they are remote learning, the students in Shari Bowes's fifth grade class at Waverly Park Elementary School came together digitally to thank frontline workers who are treating those suffering from the coronavirus.
The students were each asked to have a parent or guardian take a video of them reciting a line from a poem, entitled “We Are.” The parts were then spliced together in a music video, which shows pictures of doctors and nurses as the students express their gratitude.
“Our district motto is 'a community that cares,'” Bowes said. “So everything we've done this school year, we've tried to revolve around that theme.”
Bowes said she was on a five-mile run when the poem idea hit her. She then contacted her students and their parents, and within 24 hours, the videos of them reciting their lines was sent in. The idea behind it was to show how the pandemic has impacted “the children of COVID-19,” Bowes explained, while also showcasing the students' appreciation of the frontline workers.
The video was posted on YouTube, shared on Twitter and was featured on the “Feeding the Locals” Facebook page, which was founded by Hewlett resident Blair Longaro and aims to support local businesses and provide frontline workers, first responders and other community members with meals and treats. Since being posted, it has garnered more than 1,800 views.
“It's just so amazing because we are doing our part,” Bowes said, “by letting them know that we care, by giving them meals and providing special treats for them while they're at work. It just shows them that we care about them.”
The Feeding the Locals page has raised more than $30,000. Longaro has used the page to spend the money on gift cards from local businesses in order to support them during this trying time. The funds have been donated to hospitals, doctor's offices, sanitation workers the postal service and many others.
“People are feeding off of it,” Bowes said. “It's just so contagious. Everybody just wants to help.”
Bowes said it was important for her students to show the essential workers that the community cares about them and appreciates their hard work and dedication.
“We wanted to share these words of encouragement,” she said, “and let them know that we care about them, that we are thinking about them and that they are heroes.”