Thanks to incredible community support, our annual Spring Fundraiser has been wildly successful in years past. As a member of this school community, YOU have been a part of this success. We are grateful. This year, you and I both know our world is different. The Spring Fundraiser Matching Pot is a bit different too. Thanks to Skip and Linda Johnson and Jim and Sandra Haselberger, we have $35,000 to match your donations. As we forge ahead into the unknown, we hope you will be able to continue to support our schools in some way. Perhaps you are unable to give financially and we completely understand, but maybe you can help spread the good news of our schools. With that, I give you good news:
A week after Spring Break, we implemented distance-delivery of education. Given many years of diligent planning and school-wide technology integration (we implemented our one-to-one iPad program in 2014), we were able to pivot quickly. All students in 1st through 12th grades have school issued iPads. These enable us to "push" academic content directly to the devices. These iPads also allow for seamless integration with our Google platform which allows students and teachers to "meet" virtually. There have been challenges along the way and the "new normal" is not always comfortable, but together, we're making it work and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.
Many of our parents have shared celebration stories in regards to this "new normal." They have praised teachers for their communication. They acknowledged CSF students' abilities to transition to online learning and stay engaged. They said they were getting to know their children/grandchildren in a new way. Someone mentioned a child getting up at the same time everyday to "work" alongside his parent from home. Some parents mentioned how watching a child video chat with peers and teachers brought a smile to their face. And finally, a student asked if a virtual class could be longer than the allotted one hour. How often do students want to stay beyond the bell? My heart is full.
While change is often uncomfortable, it can present new opportunities. Our CSF team has taken advantage of the new opportunities change has presented and will continue to work and grow on behalf of our students and families.
Speaking of growth, check out one of our members of the Class of 2020, Jenna Hernandez. Jenna has grown up at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks - from pre-K through 12th grade. You won’t want to miss some of her CSF stories below. Each week, we will highlight someone from the schools to include students, teachers, and current families.
As always, thank you for your continued support of our students and these schools. We are grateful to have you as a member of the greater Catholic Schools of Fairbanks Community and we keep you in our prayers as we weather this pandemic together.
Amanda B. Angaiak
Director of Schools/ President of Monroe Foundation, Inc.
Stories from Jenna Hernandez, Class of 2020
Jenna is a self-proclaimed "volleyball girl" through and through. She says her coaches - David and Demi Obermeyer, Megan (McAfee) Stepovich, Kristy Parrish, and Laura Wayfield - helped her grow as a person both on and off the court. Jenna is pictured above with fellow senior volleyball teammates. From left to right: Madelaine Muramoto, Chloe Maynard, Jenna, and Lilloette DeMeritt.
"My most vivid memory from the volleyball program has to do with senior year regionals. The night before we traveled, I endured a personal hardship which left me very emotional and unmotivated. However, my team, coaches, and great friends came out to support me. They rallied around to help lift my spirits in a very touching way. In fact, having that support of a family on and off the court distracted me enough to pull through this tournament and play the best I have ever played. That, along with the rest of my team and coaches' hard work, resulted in us winning the regional tournament and many of us (including myself) winning All Tournament Honors and Awards."
Jenna also highlights her experiences as a member of the CSF community. She says her friendships span all grade levels - from her kindergarten buddies to her fellow graduates in the senior class.
"Since I'm a CSF ‘lifer,’ I have had the special opportunity to build friendships with many of the same people since pre-K. I am proud to call my classmates my brothers and sisters. We have all been through a lot together, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
The ICS/Monroe kindergarten/senior buddy program allows kindergarteners to learn from seniors and helps seniors explore what it means to be Loving. "The kindergarten/senior buddy program has come full-circle for me," says Jenna. "I still see my senior buddy from my kindergarten days around town. This year, through the kindergarten buddy program, I have been able to mentor younger kids while building close-knit friendships."
The smaller Monroe community has also helped foster inter-class relationships. "I mean, let’s face it - we all share the same two hallways so it was bound to happen," she laughs. Jenna talks about a friend in the sophomore class who has supported her unconditionally. "I am happy to call her my “sophomore soulmate."
"Having these lifelong Monroe friendships has granted me chances to understand what it means to belong to a community. Most importantly, I know what it’s like to be a part of a family who brings me closer to God. I simply couldn't have gotten this experience anywhere else," says Jenna.