Virtual assembly engages Central students

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Central students in kindergarten through sixth grade enjoyed a virtual assembly April 27.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

In a sign that the times they are still a-changing, Central Community School hosted a virtual assembly on April 27 for kindergarten through sixth grade students. Under the cloud of COVID-19, with schools canceled, some counties in lock down and a prevailing sense of unease, the Caring, Commitment and Safety committee that upholds the school’s mission to go beyond the classroom was pushed to think outside the traditional school day box and find a way to cultivate interaction and student engagement. 

As they got to work, committee members discussed numerous ideas before settling on the virtual assembly, which took place via Zoom, and featured a game of “Guess Who?” showing pictures of teachers as elementary students. The guessing game of 37 pictures was done using the online platform Kahoot and was won by Ella Frieden, who narrowly edged Superintendent Nicholas Trenkamp into second place. 

According to Allison Burkle, the goal was “to create an opportunity to engage students in a fun game together virtually.” The idea of the pictures and game was done as a “way to make others laugh and have fun.” 

Another motivation was the fact that this new reality has taken students away from their friends, their teachers and their sense of community. It robbed teachers of that end-of-the year closure, so vital to establishing and maintaining relationships with students. It’s also meaningful because of school pride, something Trenkamp has worked seven years to build, encourage and strengthen. 

“When I first came here, I did not feel a clear sense of pride for our school. I feel that has totally changed…and judging from our attendance last night, our elementary students and families have a great sense of ownership and pride in their school district,” Trenkamp said.

More importantly, the assembly showed the students that their teachers hadn't forgotten about them and that the entire community is in this together. Despite the cliched nature of the phrase, this time, it’s actually true. 

“It was just awesome to see their smiles again,” Trenkamp said. 

He added, “Do homework. Stay focused. Don’t fall behind.”

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