When Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia schools will remain closed through the rest of academic year, hearts sank across the state for students who were looking forward to making milestone memories. In Oakton, one high school senior is making the best of things.
Every morning, Noah Walker and Mattie Shannon’s voices would echo through the halls of Oakton High School for morning announcements. Walker, a senior who suddenly had his year cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, said they decided to take the daily routine to Instagram.
“There’s just a lot going on, and everyone is sad and stressed and upset, and so we were like, ‘We should keep doing this,’ and put some positivity in every day,” Walker told WTOP.
The two offer “quarantime” media suggestions of books and movies each day at noon and share messages from faculty.
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“Shout out to our principal, Jamie Lane. An online faculty meeting was held today and we can promise you every question going through your head is going through hers,” Walker said during a recent announcement.
In an emailed statement to WTOP, principal Jamie Lane said, “While this school closure was sudden and we find ourselves in unprecedented times, I believe the community has truly come together to support one another.”
“We all are coalescing around the common goal of supporting our students and finding ways to make the end of this school year special and meaningful for all, especially the class of 2020,” Lane said. “While our setting may have changed, our overall purpose and vision remains the same. We remain a strong community, dedicated to our students, staff and families!”
Though Walker will miss upcoming choral performances, prom and graduation, he is in good spirits.
“There are always going to be points in life where something or someone is taken from us too soon, and this is where character comes,” Walker said. “These are those defining moments where we can choose to let ourselves get beat down, or we can choose to keep smiling and be positive every day, and communicate with others even though we can’t see them every day.”
WTOP wants to continue to share students’ stories as they navigate online classrooms, canceled spring sports and events, and an uncertain summer ahead. Send your story to email@example.com.
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