Distance Learning Shows Catholic School Students What ‘Friends Are For’

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Academy, Catholic Education, Coronavirus, Crux, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY, School

By Emily Drooby

For students in the Brooklyn Diocese, their new classroom is their dining room table. 

Students and teachers are now in their third week of distance-learning because of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“It’s getting easier every day,” explained Kristen D’Alimonte, a teacher at Saint Kevin Catholic Academy. “The kids are getting better at logging into different websites, and I’m getting better with trying to put my ideas down on the websites and everything like that. It’s hard though because teachers, we’re meant to be with the kids.”

They’ve been learning online since March 17, about a week before New York city public schools began remote learning during the pandemic. Now, they’re scheduled to continue online through April 20. 

Students and educators in the diocese are off for spring break, Holy Thursday and Good Friday

While there were some kinks to iron out, this new way of learning seems to be working. But one thing is missing: friends.  

“When they’re isolated, I think it’s just so lonely for them,” explained Kristen. “They’re so used to coming into school every day, and some of these kids in my class have been together since pre-K and maybe even nursery, so they’re basically like family.”

St. Kevin Catholic Academy student Francesca came up with a fix. 

“Inspired by a video of celebrities singing the song “Imagine,” the third grader created her own video with her classmates singing the song “That’s What Friends Are For.”

“People are sad so it could make them feel better and not alone anymore, and it makes me feel like my friends are always there for me,” said Francesca.

They posted it online as a reminder that through the good times and the bad times, they’ll be on each other’s side. 

“A lot of people see it and they remember their friends, because they don’t get to see them,” explained Joey, a fellow student at the school. 

“It’s a little thing that we can do to make people happy, and it goes a long way,” said Lisa, Francesca’s mom. “It makes me feel wonderful that we can be part of someone’s joy.”

Through a difficult situation, these Catholic academy students keep shining and smiling.