Noll finds ways to make virtual connections during COVID-19

Nataly Salas, Staff Reporter

Even with the pandemic of COVID-19 happening around us today, schools are doing what they can to stay connected and entertained with their students. With everything going virtual, it is important to do what is possible to keep the students involved and entertained. Not only has Bishop Noll made a seamless transition in the academic realm with virtual learning, but they’re continuing to offer daily virtual activities to keep students involved in all areas of student life.

Bishop Noll has been hosting chapel talks each week with different guest teachers or staff members hosting the talks. Besides keeping the students involved with their daily prayer,  Chapel is a 20 minute break from the students’ day with prayer, music, and a talk. After student council proposed the idea, campus ministry decided to host the weekly meeting. Students and staff can take time to pray by listening to music and sharing personal stories,” said Ms. Stacia Bolakowski, campus minister.Similarly, all schools in the Diocese of Gary  are doing what they can to keep faith and prayer an important part of their students’ lives in their own unique way. Matt Greeley, campus minister at Andrean High School in Merrillville said, “Campus Ministry sends out morning prayer emails each day to our students, employees, parents and grandparents.”

Noll’s Student council has also been working to provide the same amount of student life activities–if not more–to the students, albeit virtual. On Thursday nights, they host trivia games. They held a virtual spirit week and send out a weekly broadcast similar to John Krasinski’s “Good News”. Kevin Burgun, English teacher and student council organizer at Bishop Noll said, “Every Thursday night at 8, anyone can join us for trivia night on zoom. We send out the details every Thursday.”

The students at Andrean High School are also finding ways to stay connected with their teachers. “National Honor Society students are preparing a special Teacher Appreciation video for Teacher Appreciation Week” Greeley said. Their clubs and sports have been doing what they can to keep in touch and feel connected. Greeley said “Coaches have been organizing team conference calls as well as following up with student-athletes to check in on them and their families, making sure they’re staying on top of their schoolwork. Various clubs have continued meeting in an altered format as well, changing some of their semester plans but maintaining communication and finding creative ways to keep students engaged.

“I feel that the student council is doing a great job at giving the students a way to feel connected and giving them something to look forward to,” said sophomore Aaliyah Crawford. “I have attended trivia nights and I thought they were so much fun. It’s great to be able to see everyone and compete just for fun even if there is no prize. I have been to a few of the Chapel talks. I really enjoy them because it felt like they were exactly what I needed to hear to stay motivated in this time of uncertainty.”