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School’s out but teachers and students donate their time

School’s out! Nevertheless, plenty of events are happening behind the scenes in our local schools. It will take more than a pandemic and a team of wild horses to keep students from achieving their goals.

Besides creating new lesson plans, teaching, and providing feedback on assignments, many teachers are connecting with students via phone calls, zoom calls, emails, car parades, and taking photos of themselves with messages for their students to let them know they’re missed. It’s so important to maintain that connection known as the “new normal.” There have been, of course, a few cancellations.

“Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 crisis, we’ve had to cancel the following events which were planned,” said Danielle Gross, director of communications at Shelly/Lyons Public Affairs and Communications, Harrisburg.

“At a Regional Spelling Bee at Pennridge Central, on March 28, 49 local students in grades four to eight were expected.”

Also canceled was An Author Visit with Aimee Bissonette slated to visit Roberts Elementary in Montgomery County and South Elementary School in Perkiomen Valley in mid-April. The intention was to reschedule for later in the school year. Roberts Elementary was able to arrange a virtual author visit through the Viking Channel web player.

And there was the Educators’ Open House at the Michener Museum on April 30.

Colonial School District and Centennial School Districts have recognized their high school seniors on their social media channels, since high school seniors are missing out on the typical highlights of a senior year
Samarth Mannikeri, a Charles Boehm Middle School Student in the Pennsbury School District was featured in a commercial during the NFL draft. He’d been working with his teachers to post recipes for healthy smoothies, workouts and staying healthy at home.

Tech students, whose education relies heavily on hands-on experience, are also receiving distancing instruction.

Colin Marsh of Bucks County Technical High School recorded videos for his culinary students, sharing the recipe, photos and video at

In a learning moment that probably would make many folks envious these days, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology’s Jo Ann McLaughlin, a cosmetology instructor, coached her level 200 student Amelia Ogilvie through her first clipper cut via a video connection with her dad as the model and her mom taking video.

Middle Bucks Institute of Technology Automotive Technology students are keeping busy working on their own videos – and sharing the results on MBIT’s Instagram page:

Central Bucks High School South Chamber Choir performed in a “virtual choir” singing separately, then recording themselves. Videos were edited together on YouTube.

Council Rock North Symphonic Choir also appeared on You Tube.
Food Services staff prepared meals for school district residents in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Some local education associations have made significant donations to their communities.

Abington Education Association provided lunch, for the day shift, and dinner, for the night shift at Abington Hospital on April 20. They also had members make monetary donations directly to New Life Presbyterian and Jenkintown United food pantries and to Interfaith Cupboard, which brought the total to a little over $4,200 raised.

Hatboro Horsham Education Association donated $4,000 to HAT Packs, which feeds hungry families in the community.

Seylar Elementary (Pennridge) teachers and staff organized a food drive for Pennridge Fish and collected 1,617 pounds of food for the food pantry.