View From SD73: Enjoying virtual holiday concerts in school district

Sure, we won’t be gathering in an overcrowded gymnasium on the night of the big performance with the hopes there are still seats available when we arrive. But maybe this year you’ll be able to share the Christmas concert with family around the world via Zoom.

Snow has arrived and along our streets, an array of coloured lights and decorations are on display.

COVID-19 has been a thorn in all of our sides for the past 10 months.

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Through it all, our teachers and administrators have shown remarkable resiliency and adaptability to ensure schools continue special annual traditions, making sure children experience all the joys and excitement of the upcoming festive season as we move forward into what is now being called “the new norm.”

As a retired teacher, I remember how the weeks leading up to Christmas were always one of my favourite times of the year.

In social studies, the study of early Greek civilizations was tabled as we shifted our focus and looked in-depth at how countries celebrated this festive time of the year.

Math books were shelved and calculators made way for pencils, rulers, scissors and glue as the classroom walls and windows were quickly covered by Christmas- and winter-themed art projects.

As for the language arts program, who can overlook the letter-writing skills children learned as they wrote those all-important letters to Santa Claus?

And the hallways were alive with music as children learned the songs they would sing at the annual Christmas concert.

Not so much has changed.

All of these traditions continue to this day — even with a global pandemic looming in the back of everyone’s minds.

Thankfully, the lead up to the big event will not see much of a difference from past years. The excitement is still there as children practise the songs they will sing or the short plays they will perform.

But there is one thing that has changed — and that is how all of us will enjoy each of those highly anticipated Christmas concerts.

During this infamous year, what will be different is the way schools will present their final performances and how family members will get to watch them.

COVID-19 has definitely had an impact in this regard as it has changed the phrase “public performance” to “virtual performance.”

I ask you, however, when you step back and look at the big picture, is that such a bad thing?

Sure, we won’t be gathering in an overcrowded gymnasium on the night of the big performance with the hopes there are still seats available when we arrive.

Nor will we have to worry about finding a parking spot close to the school.

But maybe this year you’ll be able to share the Christmas concert with family around the world via Zoom.

And when you stop to think about it, enjoying your child’s virtual Christmas concert in the comfort of your home with family from near and far, while enjoying a hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles, maybe won’t be so bad after all.

On behalf of the Kamloops-Thompson school district board of trustees, we wish all of you a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a happy new year.

Joe Small is a Kamloops-Thompson school trustee. His email is jsmall@sd73.bc.ca. To comment on this column, email editor@kamloops thisweek.com. SD73 columns appear monthly in the print edition of KTW and online at kamloopsthisweek.com.

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