GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – As students continue to adapt to a new way of learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, members of the Notre Dame Student Government are doing what they can to keep their classmates connected during this unprecedented time.
In April, NDA Student Government posted a video called “Bored in the House,” a parody based on a trend from Tik Tok – a video-sharing social networking service – set to the tune of “Everywhere You Look,” the theme to “Full House.”
Jennie Laaksonen, a German teacher and the head advisor of the Student Government at NDA, says the idea for the video arose as a way to keep students connected.
“Our student government wanted a way to keep our student body connected so they decided to put some videos along with our updates to our NDAUpdates Instagram account,” Laaksonen explains. “Of course many teenagers are getting inspiration from Tik Tok and one member, Mattea Vecera, suggested this theme.”
The video is part of a series called ‘Corona Content.’
NDA senior and Fan Man Howie Gerstner tells WFRV Local 5, “It’s a bi-weekly series where we post a fun intro featuring the executive board on student government and also some important announcements just to keep the student body connected.”
Gerstner and Leya AbuJamra – a senior and NDA Mermaid – started the Instagram page as a way to keep students updated on scores, events, and ways to stay involved.
“The Fan Man, Howie Gerstner, and I started this page at the beginning of the school year as a way to keep students involved and updated on scores, keep them updated with themes and events happening at school, and ways they can be involved and intend games,” AbuJamra tells WFRV Local 5.
According to NDA, “Fan Man and Mermaid will be representative of the entire student body and will symbolize the student body spirit and school in public venues. You have to be willing to be supportive of all grade levels here at NDA, create and make announcements, help plan pep rallies, attend a variety of sporting events in all seasons, and any variety of other things that come up throughout the year.“
Gerstner says that NDA’s student government has also introduced contests for students to participate in every couple of weeks, including a recent ‘Quarantine Activity Video Contest’ that asked students to submit a video of what they’ve been doing since transitioning to learning from home. Students voted on their favorite video and the winner won an Amazon gift card.
“We are trying to keep the students engaged in any way we can, so it may be videos or other things. Whatever they think will resonate,” says Laaksonen. “We have a weekly event at NDA called Spring Week and it is a week based on a service project, but we have a lot of fun events. Being that we can’t do that this year, my amazing student government won’t let that stop them and they have a week of virtual events planned during a week in May so we can still carry on that tradition.”
AbuJamra and Gerstner say there are numerous other ways for Notre Dame Academy students to stay involved during the coronavirus pandemic, including virtual recognition of the student of the week, a tradition at the school.
“NDA’s media specialist (Andrew Pekarek) has done a great job continuing ‘Triton of the Week’ something that faculty have hosted every week of school,” Gerstner adds. This is posted every week on NDA’s social media. Students can also submit projects which are then shared on NDA’s social media.
“Mr. Pekarek has provided so many ways for students to stay involved and connected through social media platforms,” AbuJamra continued. “He has also provided seniors with plenty of opportunities to stay connected.”
Seniors at NDA are encouraged to submit videos or photos with their college acceptance letters or videos highlighting their favorite memories at NDA.
NDA’s student government is also moving ahead with its spring elections, virtually.
“I am very excited about what we have been able to accomplish given the circumstances and I am so proud of my school and their continued dedication to the student body during this complicated time,” Laaksonen tells WFRV Local 5.