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Students Share Views Through “Pandemic Perspective”

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In times like these, we need to learn to come together to create a new way of living. At Henderson Elementary School, COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but we have been fortunate to experience many positive changes and celebrations for our school community, as well. Staff, students and families have come together to tackle the challenges of our new “norm.”

We are very proud to share how incredible our HES students and staff were this past year, and continue to be, while we face the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Over the year, as students re-entered from remote learning, there was seamless integration of students into homerooms.

The teachers and students quickly welcomed classmates and made them feel a part of the classroom family. As well, HES was able to adapt to how we use our spaces to accommodate social distancing.

What can we say about our HES students? They have astonished us at their capacity to accept change and remain in good spirits – their resilience is admirable. Even with the many changes to our school setting, it has been wonderful to hear our students celebrating many positives each day. Last year, we captured some key highlights from our student body that we are proud to share.

Mrs. Ogg’s Grade 3 students expressed, “We are so happy that school is still open for us to learn and that we can see and play with our friends . . . school is still fun! We liked that we had a choice to learn remotely, but we were excited when we could come back to school. We love Hot Lunch days, and we are thankful the DFC provides this for us.”

Ms. Davies’ Grade 3 students were excited to share all the great things about their year. “We learn cool things like multiplication and virtually traveling to many countries. Our classroom is peaceful - we never have too many students in our class.” A highlight of their day is to play and have fun with their friends in the playground.

Regardless of changes that have occurred at HES due to COVID-19, Miss Galloway’s/Ms. Hare’s Grade 1 students shared their passion about school. “We love learning to read and doing math is so fun!” They also expressed that recess time continues to always bring joy to their day, where they get to play as a Kindergarten - Grade 1 cohort. “We love having fun outdoors at recess and playing with our friends in Zone 1 or 2.”

Mrs. Burdeniuk’s Grade 1 students shared that same passion, stating, “We love being together with our friends at school. We have a good time with our teachers - they are the best. We love learning and having fun at school!”

Physical education classes this past school year occurred outdoors to allow for our gymnasium to be utilized as a homeroom classroom to support socially distancing students while learning.

We were very fortunate that the weather was accommodating, and that we had a relatively mild winter to have gym outdoors.

“Mr. Kyle plans lots of fun games for us to do during outside gym time . . . we love using the sleds on the hill, playing in the snow, and going on scavenger hunts!”

On days that weather didn’t allow for outdoor PE, the students enjoyed their PE class within their homeroom, participating in yoga and other fun virtual activities. Even though our students enjoyed their outdoor phys-ed classes with Mr. Kyle, many students have stated already this current school year, “We are happy that we are able to have phys-ed back in our gym to play games and have fun.”

As mentioned, our gym was reconfigured to a classroom last year for homeroom learning.

Mrs. Rathwell’s Grade 4-5 students were excited to share some of the highlights they experienced from this learning environment. “We have a cool classroom in the gym. It's bigger than any other classroom in the school with a huge projection screen. We each have our own desks with really cool bottoms and our own door to come into the gym. We really don't have to go in the hallway ever as we have everything we need right here in our classroom!”

The students shared, “We have the space needed to be able to do a lot of fun movement breaks to help us learn.”

Mrs. Rathwell’s students also expressed gratitude to be able to learn in a school with a wonderful staff to support them, with great friends, making HES a terrific place to be.

One of the most exciting highlights this past school year was the amazing opportunities we had to raise funds for new playground equipment.

The Dauphin and District Community Foundation awarded us $5,000 through its grant program. We also were the lucky recipients of the Dauphin Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign, breaking a Manitoba record, selling 12,500 cookies, and matching that in dollar amount.

Also, HES was the fortunate recipients from our local C0-op Fuel Good campaign, awarding us $5,500. In six months, we were able to raise a total of $23,000.

We could not be more appreciative of the generous support from our community as we continue with our fund-raising efforts for the exciting playground upgrades.

As we venture through this new school year, we feel confident that regardless of any challenges or curve balls that might come our way during this pandemic year, we will stay strong and proud at HES and work together to support our students and families to achieve another successful year of learning.

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