Keeping the Spirit Alive During Social Distancing


Teacher and Activities Director, Mrs. Rivera, lends some insight to coping with our current situation

This past week has been a time of confusion for all Vanguards. Despite all of the uncertainties, one thing is for certain: the unwavering spirit of El Modena. Mrs. Rivera, Activities Director, shares experiences of her social distancing so far, ways of staying connected to the school community, and future plans for when we return to school. 


Frontline: How has making the transition from a traditional classroom to distanced learning been for you, as a teacher and our school’s activities director? 

Mrs. Rivera: “As a teacher? It isn’t horrible as far as using technology because I taught Online Health for the district when it was a semester class for 8 years and I use Google Classroom in my current classes. Content wise? It is difficult. In ASB, we focus on social and emotional learning opportunities for our Vanguards. Distance learning and social/emotional content is difficult. Luckily I have an amazing ASB who jump in with great ideas as well as a supportive group of Activity Directors in OCL who share ideas.”


FL: Are you enjoying the break or is it more stressful than normal school? 

MR: “This is much more stressful than normal school! There’s an uncertainty of what comes next/how long this will last. I miss my students and my co-workers. I am so blessed to be able to interact everyday with such great people. We hold online meetings which helps but isn’t quite the same. Our ASB meeting week 1 was hilarious! There were 35+ of us, talking and laughing. It was so good to see each other again. It really lifted my spirits and I hope it helped ASB.”


FL: What are some things our school/asb is doing currently to keep the school spirit alive? 

MR: “That’s a tough question that I ask myself EVERY DARN DAY!!! Last week our goal was to get information everywhere. This week we are going to start to try different social media posts to get everyone involved. My personal favorite is “Joke of the Day” because I love stupid, Dad jokes. I’m still trying to figure out how we can pull off some sort of online El Mo dance party. Our campus clubs and groups are also great for keeping school spirit alive. It is my goal to have clubs, campus groups, athletic teams, and class accounts post on social media and engage with their followers. We all need to keep connecting with one another, even when we’re far apart.”


FL: What is your best advice to students on keeping engaged in school spirit? 

MR: “Keep in contact with your group of friends and/or a club you belong to at school. If you’re not in a club, join one/follow their social media, join your class social media accounts, or follow ASB accounts. We’re all Vanguards! We are a community and we’re here to support one another the best we know how.”


FL: What are some things you miss about school? 

MR: “Right now? Everything! I miss the people, students, teachers, staff. I miss seeing Coach D in the hall shouting, ‘Fire Up!’ I miss the laughter and the hard questions, and the difficult conversations and the individual growth. I even miss the construction sounds!”


FL: How will asb welcome back all the students once everyone returns to school?

MR: “I’d love for it to be one big celebration with hugging, decorations, music and an all school flash mob in the quad with the construction workers joining in from the steel girders. Think High School Musical.  The reality, I’m not sure. Know that all of us, from the superintendent to Mrs. Katevas, to me, are taking this whole thing day by day. Last week seemed crazy getting teachers and students set for distance learning. This week seems a bit more stable but as we have witnessed the last 2 weeks, life plans can change in an hour.”


FL: Are there any plans for making up events missed? 

MR: “Good question. I think it depends on when we return and what state guidelines are. I am working on moving ASB/Class elections to online after Spring break, more details to follow.” 


FL: Do you have any advice for any seniors that may be getting anxious? 

MR: “Hang in there. I know that’s easy for me to say because it isn’t my senior year. I get that you’re disappointed and/or mad and/or a million other emotions that probably come and go throughout the day. That’s expected. Try to make the best out of the situation. Take this time to learn something new, explore different careers, listen to differing points of view – Youtube, TedTalks, Netflix. Make the most of this time while you’re still experiencing these emotions. If you’re getting too anxious, talk to someone and join the Google Classroom: Vanguard Support Group class code: zzkoegh” 


FL: How do you think the school’s atmosphere will be altered after we return from this break, if at all?

MR: “I hope that we all appreciate one another more. I hope that our Vanguard community realizes how much we need each other.”


   Despite this confusing and unexpected situation, Vanguards must all remember our El Modena community is here to support each other. To stay updated, follow @elmodenaasb, @elmodenahs, and @elmo.selfcare on Instagram.

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