"You Are the Glue that Holds the School Together"

It would be understandable if, when the students returned to school, they assumed that a secret gang of fairies had been the force behind the newly taped directional arrows in the hallways, the protective plexiglass wrapped around every desk, the boxed lunches delivered to individual classes, and all of the new health guidelines. But class 4Z knew that wasn’t the case, and they wanted to show gratitude to those who were keeping them safe—even, and perhaps especially, to those people they had never seen.

“The class began thinking about all of the effort that went into opening the School, particularly all of the behind-the-scenes work,” said Kathryn Bauman-Hill, who teaches 4Z with Teresita Cuesta. “We brainstormed about who was helping to create the new environment and came up with four categories: health services, facilities, dining services, and security.”

So the students—some of whom have been on campus during hybrid learning, and some who have seen the efforts during distance learning—went to work making posters, cards, and letters to recognize the hidden heroes of hybrid learning.

“Thank you for the six feet apart markers,” wrote Eleanor to the facilities team, drawing a picture of students standing apart. “They help me so much to stay safe. You are the brains of the School.” Other students thanked security for their help during dropoff and pickup, dining services for the lunches, and health services for keeping an eye on all of them—not just for handling COVID precautions, but for more ordinary services.

“The School would never be the same without you,” wrote Samara. “On the second day of school I got a splinter and you took it out. You are the glue that holds the School together.”

On November 20, the students got to see some of their card recipients in real life. Facilities team members Kasey Cicio and William Patton visited the students to talk about making the plexiglass desk shields, as well as more normal activities like maintaining the wetlands at the Middle School.

“Some people don’t notice that you make it possible to go to school,” wrote Madison-Jaye. “So I just wanted to say I noticed and I want to thank you.”

“They were so personal that they all warmed my heart,” said Security Chief Steve Thompson. “All of the officers are very appreciative of the time and effort it took to write these. This is why we are first responders and love our job.”

“We know that they are all working incredibly long hours,” said Bauman-Hill. “It was important to acknowledge all of their time and energy in a small way.”

Dylan conveyed his gratefulness in a description that, in our COVID era, may be the highest compliment. “I am really thankful you work here,” he wrote to facilities. “You keep the School as clean as a wipe.”


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