Hope Cards for UH Geauga
Chardon Schools is once again teaming up with Love Our Geauga Lifesavers, a digital initiative established by Chardon resident Maura Schnauffer this spring when Geauga County was first impacted by the pandemic.
Schnauffer, a retired caregiver having years of first-hand knowledge of the compassionate and diligent energy that is expended by staff in a healthcare setting, developed Love Our Geauga Lifesavers as a means for community members to express appreciation for the employees of University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center during the fight against COVID.
At the outset, in April, Schnauffer invited Geauga County schools students to participate in this endeavor. Chardon Schools students, having just transitioned to emergency remote learning following the state-ordered shutdown of schools and also impacted by the cancellation of extracurricular activities, saw this as an opportunity to donate some of their spare time to an important cause, resulting in over 60 submissions of artwork and letters for the Love Our Geauga Lifesavers Facebook page.
Recognizing the increasing strain that the healthcare sector has been under in more recent months due to the pandemic, Chardon Schools reached out to Schnauffer and UH in mid-November to ask if students could also support the Love Our Geauga Lifesavers mission in the new school year, especially as local COVID cases have been on the rise. The answer was a resounding yes.
Since then, Hilltopper students of all ages have been busy creating more artwork and messages – this time with an intentional theme of hope and encouragement as well as gratitude – via handmade cards and letters for UH Geauga staff members.
“It is our hope that Hilltoppers’ thoughtful messages and creative artwork will be particularly impactful during a time when emotional and physical exhaustion have likely increased for hospital staff,” said Chardon Schools Communications Director Kelly Misch. “We are thankful to have district families supporting the project by photographing their students’ cards and letters and submitting them via email to us for the Love Our Geauga Lifesavers Facebook page.”
To also provide UH Geauga employees with something tangible this time around, Chardon Schools is printing many of the submissions and delivering them to UH Geauga for distribution to all of the hospital’s departments.
“The staff really need love and encouragement right now,” said Gottsegen in a Nov. 30 email to Schnauffer and Misch. “Thank you both so much for not taking our hospital for granted and continuing to remember our employees, the people who make this hospital possible.”
Community members interested in learning more about Love Our Geauga Lifesavers are invited to visit the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/
Virtual District Pledge of Allegiance
Chardon Schools kicked off the month’s final week of remote instruction before winter break with a district-wide Pledge of Allegiance virtual event hosted by Superintendent Michael Hanlon. This optional event, wherein the district’s staff and students – along with student families – are given an advanced-notice invitation to a Monday morning Google Meet, was a practice first established last spring when the district was in the emergency remote learning format due to the State-mandated shutdown of schools.
“The district-wide virtual Pledge of Allegiance event was a brainstorm of Superintendent Hanlon’s last March upon him proudly learning of a young Hilltopper student continuing to maintain a morning Pledge routine of her own after our school buildings were closed,” said District Communications Director Kelly Misch. “In what then became a weekly virtual event we organized for the remainder of that school year, our students and staff – district-wide – looked forward to waves and hellos each Monday morning followed by Dr. Hanlon’s introduction of a student volunteer or two to lead us all in the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Now in a new school year and with a new and improved remote instruction model developed, a model that was activated by Chardon Schools from Dec. 7 until at least Dec. 18 in response to increased quarantine cases throughout the district, Chardon Schools saw the importance of bringing back the virtual Pledge of Allegiance.
On Dec. 14, the Google Meet event was proudly led by second-grade student Anneliese Andryc and first-grade student Adelyn Andryc, both of whom are enrolled in the district’s Blue Model virtual program. The two sisters, whose mom, Jackie Andryc, said they were thrilled to be chosen, were introduced by the superintendent to participating Hilltoppers and led the district with confidence and smiles in an online event garnering over 90 participants, one of the district’s largest turnouts thus far.
“Dr. Hanlon’s newfound tradition served as an added opportunity for connectedness during a challenging time last spring when staff and students could not meet in-person,” said Misch. “And we enjoyed bringing this event back this school year just a few days before students and staff head off to winter break. Anneliese and Adelyn should be proud as they both did an outstanding job in their leadership roles.”
Grinch Day Success
In the words of Maple Kindergarten Principal Dr. Kelly Moran, not even a COVID separation – being apart due to remote instruction – could stop the annual fun of Grinch Day, Dec. 16, from arriving.
Without blinking, Maple Kindergarten teachers, all teaching remotely since at least Dec. 7, planned novel hands-on projects for their students for a 2020 celebration of that beloved Dr. Seuss green character whose heart grows three sizes during the holiday season.
“My heart grew on Grinch Day too because my smart cookie students used the hundreds chart to color the Grinch,” said teacher Jenny Maheu. “I am so proud of their hard work.”
Students in teacher Rebecca Klembara’s class, one of the district’s 100-percent Blue Model virtual classrooms for the 2020-21 school year, had a successful Grinch Day integrating the theme into an art and writing project as well as a science experiment.
“The Grinch left us some notes, and we wrote what we could do to make him grin,” shared Klembara. “Then we made his heart grow in a science experiment using a green balloon with baking soda and vinegar.”