Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School eighth-graders returned to campus on March 10, just a few days shy of the one-year anniversary of the school closing because of the coronavirus. Grade 8's arrival means all students, from PreKindergarten on up, are back on campus.
Beating that one-year milestone was important to Head of Lower and Middle School Christy Pollacci. "In August we began the herculean effort to bring back our students beginning with our youngest children," she said in a letter to parents. "... Our teachers rallied, and today we are complete—all 10 grades are back! To say I am proud is an understatement. ... As we move forward and leave the darkest days behind, I realize that we showed our students that we don't give up, and when we work together, we can do anything."
To welcome them back, the eighth-graders were each gifted with a Santa Catalina blanket and their favorite drink from Starbucks. The real highlight was a special video made by their teachers, past and present, set to the song "Seasons of Love" from Rent. The song is known for the lyrics "525,600 minutes," but the teachers made sure to update it to reflect the actual time away: 522,700 minutes. Watch the video below.
PreK-Grade 5 are receiving in-person instruction, while Grades 6-8 are continuing with distance learning in on-campus cohorts. Middle School teachers are expected to return to the classroom on April 12.