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Badin pleased with online efforts; five-day online retreat a highlight

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As Badin High School wraps up four weeks of online school this week heading into Easter break on Good Friday, Principal Brian Pendergest said he was pleased with the efforts of all concerned. “None of us have ever been in a situation like this,” Pendergest noted. “Our faculty and students are taking it seriously and working hard under these unusual circumstances to continue with our important fourth quarter curriculum.”

Plans have been upended all over the country because of the coronavirus pandemic, but students at the Catholic high school in Hamilton – particularly seniors – are making the best of an unprecedented situation.

“This is completely out of our control, so I’ve tried to stay positive throughout the whole process,” said senior Colin Crank. “It’s definitely taken several weeks to adjust to a ‘new normal’ … but teachers have been doing an amazing job communicating with us.”

“I’m sure this goes for everyone, but switching to online-only school has been a major, and somewhat tough, adjustment for me,” said Emily Sauer, Student Council president. “Our teachers have made tremendous efforts to make things as ‘normal’ as possible and still connect with us and help when we need it.”

Gina Helms, Badin’s director of Campus Ministry, noted that three student retreats in the month of April had to be cancelled. She made the decision to connect remotely with various Badin senior retreat leaders and create a five-day online retreat.

“A group of senior leaders accepted the challenge of offering an online retreat experience for our whole community,” Helms said. “We wanted to give everyone a chance to stay in touch with the faith community at Badin, to grow in their faith, and to have something to look forward to each day. Our leaders truly rose to the occasion.”

The five-day retreat – 15-minute online videos each day – included days of Family, Friendship, Our Current Situation, Gratitude and concluded on Friday, April 3, with Joy. The videos were emailed to the Badin school community, and are now online at BadinHS.org

“Things came together quite well,” Helms said. “We asked students to respond on Thursday to what they were grateful for, and we got a number of very thoughtful responses.”

The online retreat effort made such an impact, Helms said, that starting Wednesday, April 22, Badin seniors will put together a retreat every Wednesday for the rest of the school year.
Senior Nathan Schuster gave a talk about dealing with our current situation in the mid-week video.

“I thought the retreat was a great idea,” he said. “I chose my speech because I felt that I could relate to the other students when talking about what we are going through. Students could see that we are not alone in this. We are all in this together, and it will pass. We will all be together soon.”

“The online retreat was a great way to remind me of the good during these not-so-good times,” senior Jaelynn Scowden said.

“It was a great idea just to get people in that prayer and retreat mindset for a few minutes out of their day,” Sauer said. “To remember that we are all in this together and that whatever they are feeling, someone else is, too.”

That thought … “We’re all in this together” … is the catchy tune from the movie “High School Musical” that closed each retreat video.

When Badin students return to online school after Easter break on Monday, April 20, they will have an adjusted Block Day schedule.

“We’re in continuous contact with schools in the area, getting feedback, looking at best practices,” Pendergest explained. “We think this revised schedule will help our students do an even better job with their online efforts.”

Badin students have an eight-period day, so they will have their first four classes on Monday and Wednesday, and their next four classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday will be a work day for weekend assignments and additional contact with teachers.

“I miss everything about Badin – the people, the daily school routine, events and so on, and it’s really upsetting,” Sauer said, echoing what students all over the country are feeling. “But I have been trying to look on the bright side. Zoom calls, getting to see my teachers and friends, are almost always the highlights of my day.”

“It’s crazy to think my last day at Badin could have already potentially happened,” Scowden said. “I never would have thought I would miss the little things, like walking with classmates from class to class, and the casual conversations with my teachers and other classmates. … But I am hoping for the best and praying that everything returns to normal soon.”

Badin’s Pendergest has indicated that at some point this summer, he hopes that Badin High will be able to hold its Senior/Junior Prom as well as graduation exercises for the Class of 2020.
“My friends and I have actually talked about how impressed we are with Mr. P. (Pendergest) and the administration about how they are handling school closure,” Crank said. “Mr. Pendergest promised that he would figure something out about prom and graduation, and that’s great.”

Ohio schools are currently closed through May 1. Badin’s prom has been postponed from April 4, and graduation is currently scheduled for Friday, May 29, at St. Susanna Catholic Church in Mason.


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