Acknowledging that her role at Wilson High looks quite different this year, Activities Director Erin Fekjar has set three main goals for Student Council: #1, school spirit; #2, engendering a sense of belonging, connectedness; and #3, establishing routines.
“Creating routines in a virtual world is going to be important. But we’re seeing an amazing potential for student collaboration online.”
Erin Fekjar has already transitioned her famous Link Crew freshman orientation program to a small group Zoom orientation with 235 juniors and seniors welcoming the entire freshman class. Her Link Crew experience has given her a lot of hope for the rest of the year.
“We’re seeing the kids show more self-reliance and a greater sense of ownership than ever before. [Link Crew] communicated on Google docs with 240 people where everyone was giving input and leaving their mark. I’ve never seen such 100% ownership from the students.”
This year’s Link Crew orientation also revealed something else. A record number of juniors and seniors applied to be an orientation leader. Most years, applications for the club range into the high 200’s. This year, 440 applications were received!
“[These statistics] tell me that the students will do anything to be connected right now. They’ll do anything to get an ounce of school spirit, and they’ll do anything to get onto that campus.”
With longing for a sense of belonging at an all-time high, Fekjar and her helpers are doing everything possible to make every single “normal” activity available virtually.
“We just have to be creative but there are good things that can come out of this.”
One great venture that has come out of the strangeness of this pandemic year is the creation of Wilson’s online content hub: Woodyverse on YouTube (named for Woody, the Bruin mascot). Talk about an innovation that is not only sure to do wonders for connectedness during distance learning but certain to continue once the school is back for in-person instruction.
Woodyverse is a new YouTube channel that will house the videos of everything creative going on this year. Dance shows, drama performances, club demonstrations, rallies, projects and more. You name it…everything happening at virtual Wilson will be happening on Woodyverse.
It’s a definite silver lining that will only add to the experience of students in years to come.
This year however, Ms. Fekjar cannot emphasize enough with how much students want to see each other and be on campus. She will likely be allowing “club” meetings after virtual school in the quad using sanitized and spaced-out chairs. And beyond that, she will be working hard to make sure that, whatever changing health orders occur, the Wilson community will continue to prosper.
As drama teacher Ms. Riley says, “We’re extremely lucky to have someone like Ms. Fekjar coordinating things at Wilson. She’s such a ‘can-do’ person. Anytime someone on campus has an idea, her response is ‘Yes. How can we make this work?’”
To see the innovative and spirited videos circulating at virtual Wilson High School this year, search “woodyverse” on youtube.com!