How do you stay connected to your students and school during a Pandemic?
Ken Alexander, one of our FGP volunteers learned how.
Ken made sure he stayed in touch with the teacher he has worked with the last seven years. Once in-class school was stopped for the year, Ken was still able to help the teacher and the students by packing up supplies to be delivered to the student’s homes. This included the much needed technology supplies to enable students to take part in virtual learning via Zoom. Ken packed up IPADs and all the accessories, along with notebooks, and various other school supply items.
Ken continued to go to the school and help with the school garden. He is very proud of this garden and stated “It is 704 square foot garden space, 90% veggies, 10% flowers. It was set up 20 years ago. Every classroom has a bed and its part of our science curriculum. This year that changed, but I am still loving working in it. The neighborhood folks walk by, and enjoy it also.” Ken worked with Melina Lozano (ESL teacher) and Mitch Brown from Hawthorne Elementary School on this wonderful project.
Toward the end of the school year, Ken felt so bad that he and the students had to say good-by so quickly when in-classroom school ended. He was very close to this class and wanted to make sure he could say a proper good-bye. Ken wrote a letter to all the students and sent it to the teacher for her to pass on to them. Ken was also able to participate in the 5th Grade Graduation via zoom.
Dearest Kids of Rm. 127,
This will be one of the hardest letters I've ever written. Our exit from school in mid-March was so quick and abrupt that we never had a chance to say good-bye. This has been sad for me, and I still think about it a lot.
I had an absolutely fantastic year with you, every single one of you! I watched you grow and learn and become valuable members of the community. It was very heartwarming for me. You guys mean a lot to me, and I miss you very much. Every time I go somewhere in East Madison I always hope to bump into you but, of course, with all the lockdown stuff going on, I understand why that rarely happens.
I hope you are all healthy and doing okay. I know that the teachers are having a challenging time with virtual learning, and I'm sure you are too. Stick with it, you’ll all be okay. I know that because I know you all have a tremendous amount of potential, and very positive values. Above all, practice kindness, empathy, respect, and honesty towards others, and certainly toward yourselves. It’s called karma and all these good vibes will come back to you in one good way or another.
Above all, CONGRATULATIONS graduates!! Be proud of yourselves. You all deserve it. You guys mean so much to me, and I miss you and love you all!
Take best care, stay careful and healthy, and have a fantabulous summer (new word that doesn't exist! Not yet, anyway!)
Thank you, each and every one of you for giving me a truly wonderful and rewarding year. I'll never forget you! Hawthorne days for me have always been my best days.
The very best to all of you,
Ken Alexander, Foster Grandparent Volunteer