School Year Ends Successfully with Distance Learning, Virtual Celebrations

School Year Ends Successfully with Distance Learning, Virtual Celebrations

Final tests have been taken, projects have been submitted, and there are no more Zoom classes for the 2019-2020 school year.

In March, Sage Hill School deftly reinvented its educational model into a distance modality in just a matter of days. Since then, the fourth quarter has been full of Zoom or Google meetups, virtual Town Meetings, and inventive ways in which to teach and engage our students.

Over the past two months, our faculty, staff and coaches have continued to come up with new and exciting virtual lessons and ways to showcase student talent as the year came to a close.
Even in this virtual environment, Sage Hill made teacher-student connections and support a top priority.

Distance Learning Lessons
Some of these lessons teachers came up could only be done during distance learning.

For instance, on the last day of French class, Madame Phares had all the students choose a Zoom screen background that showcased their favorite place they would like to be this summer. Then, they all got to describe the location and explain why they chose it, all in French.

In Coach Ray’s SageFit class, students made use of their home kitchens to make healthy snacks, like yogurt parfaits.

Special Guests
Distance learning also provided a great way to bring special guests into the virtual classroom.

In Ms. Ball's U.S. History class in early May, four veterans from Heroes Hall at the OC Fairgrounds gave the students personal accounts of their experience in war. Their war experiences ranged from Korea, to Vietnam, to a woman stationed in Germany during the Cold War. In addition to these personal histories, students were given an in depth presentation on the Santa Ana Airbase (SAAB), located at the OC Fairgrounds.

Each of the presenters gave students information about the Museum at Heroes Hall, ranging from discussions on rationing in WWII, the use of propaganda, and how the war impacted different groups during WWII. It was a fantastic presentation that provided unique local and personal history to the study of these 20th century conflicts.

In Ms. Smith’s Dance Ensemble class, she invited the current captain of the University of Arizona Pomline to speak with students via Zoom. She answered questions about life on a college dance team, the audition process, balance of time, academics, what to expect and how to build confidence proceeding to college.

Sage Center Speaker Series
In May, the Sage Center hosted two very successful Speaker Series events. The first event featured Emmy Award winner and “Queer Eye” host Karamo Brown in a discussion called “Know Thyself: Using Your Uniqueness to Create Success.”

“Being a part of the first virtual Sage Center Speaker Series event was very rewarding! The fact that it was virtual allowed us to work with Karamo Brown in the first place, as distance and his busy filming schedule were no longer issues,” senior and co-moderator of the event Nicole Motherway said. “I’ve been a fan of his for years now, so the opportunity to actually speak with him was pretty incredible. It turns out he’s just as amazing and inspiring in real life as he is on ‘Queer Eye’ and the rest of his endeavors! I think the advice he shared was super relevant to everyone navigating high school right now, both in general and during quarantine.”

The second Speaker Series event was a panel discussion that included both current students and alumni called “The Purpose of Creativity in Our Culture Today,” which you can view here if you missed it.

“The events were a way for our greater community to connect beyond the classroom experience during this time of a closed campus,” said Mary Kildare, Producer of Community Programming. “Karamo’s words, as well as all of our current seniors and alumni who participated in both events as moderators and panelists, were so inspirational and hopeful. We all need more of that in our lives right now, and it was an honor and pleasure to work with everyone to ensure they were successful events for all.”

English Portfolio
One important aspect of the end of the school year is celebrating student academic accomplishments via the English Portfolio project. Typically, English Portfolio night is held on campus and includes an introductory student speech and a live viewing of student projects in the Peter V. Ueberroth Gymnasium and the D. Diane Anderson Humanities Building.

This year, in place of the traditional visual display for their projects, students created short videos wherein they shared their thoughts on life during the quarantine and reflected upon an essential question for their particular English class. Some of these projects were chosen to be combined into grade-level videos that will be shared with the Sage Hill community on Tuesday, June 2.

A tradition on Portfolio Night has also been for the English Department to recognize one of our outstanding seniors by inviting them to speak about the role of writing and literature in their lives. This year’s introductory student speaker is senior Angie Yogaratnam.

Arts Showcase
In lieu of individual arts performances in the Black Box Theater, the Arts Department has created a collection of beautiful videos showcasing their students’ amazing culminating work in theater, choral, dance, instrumental music, and visual and digital art.

In many of these videos, the student artists recorded themselves at home and were then all edited together into cohesive videos.

“My students recorded themselves singing at home to a recording of our accompanist, sometimes an example singer, and a click track. As they sang to that, they watched a video of me conducting,” said Arts Department Chair and Choral Teacher Megan Eddy. “After many weeks of tech issues, trial and error, multiple submissions and coaching, the students then uploaded their final videos to a Google Drive that we accessed. From there literally hundreds of hours went into the sound and video editing.”

All of the arts showcase videos will be presented to the community on Wednesday, June 3.

Over the last several months, the Sage Hill Athletics Department has found great ways to keep student athletes engaged, as well as celebrate their hard work and achievements.

Our spring coaches have kept in close contact with their athletes through virtual practices, live and recorded workouts, team meetings, wellness checks and more.

The @SageAthletics Instagram page has been very active, with fun trivia games; videos from Athletic Trainer Meaghan Beaudoin on how to take care of your body while distance learning; and throwback photos and facts about Sage Hill Athletics.

Thursdays were Spring Season Team Showcase Day, which highlighted one spring season sport each week. On Fridays, it was Spring Season Senior Athlete Spotlight, which focused on spring season senior athletes and their accomplishments.

Also for seniors, the School kept up its tradition of hosting a College Athlete Recognition Ceremony, which was released virtually on Monday, May 18. Each of the student athletes honored were sent ribbon leis with their college or university colors and an edible arrangement to enjoy while watching the ceremony.

“We did a lot of unique things, and I think we set the trend for other schools in a lot of ways,” Director of Athletics Megan Cid said. “It was really important for us to celebrate all of our student athletes in a way comparable to if we could have finished out the season together.”


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