“Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic as a new employee has been eye-opening”
A New Employee Reflection on Saint John’s Prep and COVID-19
I recently moved back to Minnesota after living in California for many years and was fortunate enough to join the Saint John’s Prep community in October of 2019. Experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic as a new employee at Prep has been eye-opening and frankly refreshing, as it has crystalized my faith in our institution as a whole. Our teachers immediately and almost seamlessly transitioned into online learning. At the same time, I have witnessed them work to practice flexibility, sensitivity, and support for students who have faced such challenges as 14-day quarantines in hotels before returning to their home countries or not having sufficient Wi-Fi in their homes to attend online classes. Our residential staff have continued to support our boarding students who have chosen to stay on campus for the duration of the semester, recently giving up the Easter holiday with their families to facilitate a fun and engaging long weekend for the students. The leadership team has been a beacon of hope and resiliency, emphasizing that we should focus on balance and love for ourselves, as well as for our students. Faculty and staff have kept in touch, holding virtual happy hours, online chess games, and League of Legends sessions. All of these actions speak to the Benedictine values that Saint John’s Prep holds dear and confirms my first impression of Prep that I had last October: these people really do “walk the talk”. I am incredibly grateful for this community that continues to go above and beyond, and a community in which I feel seen and supported.
Now, it is easy for me to remain optimistic during this time as I am fortunate enough to continue to work from home and have the necessary resources to work remotely. Whether you are in a similar situation or are facing hardships in these uncertain times, I encourage you to reflect on what you are grateful for in your life. The below poem has been circulating online and I was struck by its alignment with Prep’s values. I hope it brings light into your lives and hearts:
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
– Kitty O’Meara
Assistant Director of Admission
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