Student Perspectives: Rachel Gunderson '20
What are your hopes for this new process?
I hope we can preserve as much of the Breck experience as possible but acknowledge the limitations and shortcomings in this unknown time. I think there's a lot of pressure on the whole community to "replicate" how the school functioned before we transitioned to digital learning, but at a point we need to accept that this is a new territory for all of us and that those efforts may not be productive. I think we should be trying to maintain the intangibles of Breck—feeling of community, supporting our peers, etc.—instead of constantly trying to recreate moments that demand a physical space. For example, senior leaders had a long discussion on how to replicate senior speeches digitally and while I think it's important to consider how the speeches will take place (live streamed or pre-recorded was the specific debate we were having), to me it's even more important to think about how we will make sure the speaker feels heard and special.
How did you contribute to the process?
I've been on several Google Hangout calls with my fellow senior student council members, as well as with Mr. Ohm and Ms. Tepp. Some of those were live streamed to the administration and faculty so they could get a sense of how classroom interactions may play out, as well as hearing the students' perspectives on this change. As the senior class president, I'm also working to create meaningful opportunities to interact with each other virtually in our last months of high school. I'm helping to organize an alternative to the May 1st college decision day when everyone normally wears their college shirt to school and I'm also planning a pen pal activity with our first-grade buddies.
How did rising to this challenge make you feel in light of all that is going on?
As much as I'm excited to help lead my class during this time, I wish we didn't have to be planning alternatives to activities we thought we'd be able to do together at Breck. I'm also coming to terms with the fact that some things can't be transitioned to a digital space, such as saying “hi” or “good morning” to people in the hallways, or simply asking a friend to go to lunch with me. There are a lot of simple activities that I used to overlook as an important part to my high school and Breck experience that I now realize were just as impactful as what I learned inside the classroom.
Breck Upper School students Joseph Purvis ‘21, Ayres Warren ‘22 and Maddie McDermott ‘22 share their experience interviewing Leslie Redmond, a local community organizer and former President of the Minneapolis NAACP. They also share their excitement for the MLK Symposium and Amplify Our Love with Pie events happening at Breck this upcoming week. Ms. Redmond will be the Upper School keynote speaker for the our 20th annual MLK Symposium.
On Sunday, January 17th, Breck will co-host Sweet Potato Comfort Pie’s seventh annual MLK Holiday event: Amplify Our Love with Pie, to honor the 92nd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breck student, Kai Miller ‘22, has been working behind the scenes to get ready for the event. The communications team at Breck did a brief interview with Kai to ask about her experience working on the event.
Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D., Head of School, updates the Breck community on the School's response to Wednesday's events.