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DISCUSSION

HomeRoom: Campus Life -- Without the Campus

In This Issue...

  • Reflections from Gabrielle Sharaga, Student Partnerships Coordinator and School Counseling Intern 
  • RESOURCE: Online Advisory Groups Can Rebuild Connections
  • VIDEO: Let’s Make a Podcast!
  • RESOURCE: Communication Guide for Students while Distance Learning
  • INSPIRATION: Ted Tilles' Cooking Club @ Home
  • LINK: Stress Management for Educators
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“Finding Closure"

Reflections from Gabrielle Sharaga, Student Partnerships Coordinator
and School Counseling Intern @ Gateway High School

For school counselors, a huge part of our role at the end of the school year revolves around closure. This means supporting students in reflecting on all of the different ways they have grown over the course of our time together and all of the ways they can build upon this in the future. It marks the end of one experience while also planting the seed for the growth of something new.

Two months ago, a form of closure came suddenly and quite literally as we exited the Gateway halls and found ourselves sheltering in place. All of the milestones we typically experience at the end of the year, whether it be prom, yearbook signing, or senior celebrations, look radically different or may not be happening at all. 

My heart breaks for our students, and especially our graduating seniors, who do not get to commemorate these important life moments together in person. For many students, these are some of the most memorable parts of being a young adult, a time when they can celebrate all of their accomplishments from the previous year – and all four years – in community.

My work as a counselor is all about building connections with others, and it’s never been more apparent how such a huge part of that is being able to do so in person. People need people, and this pandemic has disrupted such a key way that we connect with one another. 

Despite all this, I am continuously inspired by all of the creative ways that Gateway faculty and students are finding ways to create a sense of community. We are so lucky that we have all of these tools at our disposal to connect virtually. Whether it be Senior Week Padlet pages full of hilarious and heartwarming tributes to seniors, advisory game hours on Zoom, or student shout-outs from faculty during our weekly Monday Morning video announcements, Gateway is doing whatever it can to bridge the physical distancing we’ve experienced over the last couple months. Some of the tools we have discovered have actually opened up new possibilities for ways we can support our students and families in the future. 

We did not expect to close out the year sitting in front of computer or phone screens. This pandemic has further entrenched the inequities in our society and caused massive stress, hardship, and heartbreak for many members of our Gateway community. I am grateful, though, that even in these extremely scary and uncertain times, to be a part of a community that is doing whatever it can to create a sense of closure and connection for its students, families, and faculty. 

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