The Times They Are A Changing (Bob Dylan) Engaging Henry High School Community online: A lesson created by Megan Hawker

 “Our students are here physically distant, but socially and academically, (re)connected. We took PHamily pics. Each student made their own ‘avatar’ in class to build community and commemorate this crazy time together. These young people are bright, beautiful and thank goodness they are our future,” said Henry High Physical Education/Health Teacher Megan Hawker.               

The avatar program is just one of many creative ways Henry High staff are reaching out to engage students and the community in bridging gaps of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The response from youth to Megan Hawker’s avatar exercise has been overwhelming favorable.

In case you’re unfamiliar here’s a definition of an avatar: In computing, an avatar (also known as a profile picture or userpic) is a graphical representation of a user or the user’s character or persona; an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet forums, etc.  You might know this word from video games, wherein you create an avatar to represent yourself on screen. Avatar the movie is a 2009 American epic science fiction film [featuring avatars]. Interestingly, reflecting on current events, avatars appear in Hindu mythology whenever the cosmos is in crisis, typically because the evil has grown stronger and has thrown the cosmos out of its balance. The avatar then appears in a material form, to destroy evil and its sources, and restore the cosmic balance between the ever-present forces of good and evil. (Citation: James Lochtefeld (2002), “Avatar” in the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing, p. 228.)

September notes from some Henry staff on the current situation: 

“I can’t promise ‘perfect’ to my students or colleagues, but I can certainly promise to listen to them, to learn from them, to lift up their voices, and to love them! Just like any other year!”  Megan Hawker

“I am currently suffering from a severe case of Not-Seeing-My-Students-In-Personitis. Unfortunately, there is no pill, vaccine, or elixir to remedy this ailment. I knew not being able to see them in person was going to be rough…but I didn’t know it was going to be this difficult for me. I’m taken by how emotional I get sometimes just seeing them on a computer screen.” Mary Raab, Science teacher

“I absolutely love my students. They are so fun!”  Sharon Price, Science teacher

“Well, short and sweet, I wish we were all back in the school building with the students, teachers and staff. However, it’s a new normal.”  Robin Volz, Health office assistant

“Systematic change will happen over time but change, itself, can happen daily.” Henry Principal Yusuf A. Abdullah