Welcome to academic year 2020/2021—an admittedly not-so-typical year.
Under the best conditions, this is a busy time of year for the PTAA. Typically, we would be arranging face-to-face events to welcome parents and students to campus, hosting welcome dinners, and handing out popsicles as a treat after the handshake ceremony. Our goal? To set the foundation for our collective year, to connect with each other, to build our community, and to support each other—our fellow parents, students, faculty, and staff.
While COVID has undoubtedly brought many changes—requiring significant modifications of our behavior for our safety and the safety of our community—it has not altered our mandate. In fact, I would argue that the PTAA’s inclusive community-building efforts are now more important than ever. The pandemic has showed us how very much we need each other.
This year our entry will look a little bit different. Rest assured, however, we will collectively rise to the occasion and, together, figure out how to navigate and thrive in this new reality.
After all, we’ve already proven that we can.
Last May, as our seniors were faced with missing out on traditional events–Prom, Graduation, and Baccalaureate—the CA community rallied. Leadership, employees, and volunteers worked together tirelessly to figure out innovative ways to celebrate and honor, not only our seniors, but our milestone classes. Videos were assembled, congratulations signs were secretly delivered, yearbooks, roses, certificates, and swag were placed in car trunks during celebration parades as teachers, employees, and administration cheered on the students from socially-distanced positions. Air high fives and the obligatory mic drop signified the beginning of summer with the anticipation that school would begin in August.
Was it easy? No, it wasn’t.
Navigating a pandemic safely while trying to connect a community is not easy, but it can be done, and done well (and with fun and–dare I say it–joy). Just as we did last spring, we’re leaning into the remarkable resilience and creativity of our community to find new ways to interact and connect.
Flexibility has been our operating system these last few months. And the requisite outside-of-the box thinking that COVID has necessitated has unearthed a silver-lining: there are now more ways than ever to participate in the CA community and to do it on your own terms, in ways big and small, that feel safe and doable for you and your family.
Will you join one of CA’s parent affinity groups to share your perspectives and experiences and lend support to each other? Or participate in a virtual book club, unpacking a text and discussing themes that are particularly relevant to our community and times? Perhaps you’ll Zoom in for a Town Hall to stay abreast of how our community is adapting or submit questions for our new “Keeping Chargers Connected” bi-monthly discussion series (stay tuned for more details on that front). Maybe you’ll tap into a personal passion and volunteer to lead a Health and Wellness sub-committee or propose an altogether new initiative.
Not finding something that speaks to you? Suggest something; we’re all ears. In fact, our two most recent committee offerings—CA Connected and Environmental Sustainability—were proposed by passionate parents that saw a community need that aligned with their interests.
The bottom line? It requires all of us to uphold our community. This year, I invite you to tune in. Be present. Jump in as you are able. Change, inspiration, resilience, and a thankful community await. Together, we can do more than weather this not-so-normal year—we can thrive.