Jesuit Chronicle

Crusader Comics & Quarantine Struggles: The Scrapbooking Edit

Crusader+Comics+%26+Quarantine+Struggles%3A+The+Scrapbooking+Edit
About the Writers
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Dear Charlie: An Advice Column with Charlie Crusader

Writing+a+letter+brings+joy+to+those+who+receive+it%2C+and+it+highlights+the+joy+of+giving+during+the+holiday+season.+%0A

Steele

Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.

Dear Charlie,

 

I am a junior, and though I was excited to become an upperclassman this year, I feel lost. My homework keeps stacking up, there is pressure to think about colleges, and I feel like I’m not taking on a big enough leadership role in the community.

 

Junior year is supposed to be the year I come out of my shell and become more independent. But now, I’m stuck at home stressing about all the work I haven’t done. Help!

 

Signed, 

 

So Much To Do, So Little Time

 

Dear So Much To Do,

 

In the words of Billy Joel, “Slow down, you crazy child!” As a junior, it may feel like the year to make your mark at Jesuit. If you are feeling motivated, go for it, but during the holidays, Admissions Director Erin DeKlotz recommends a simple six step plan to help you relax and take the pressure of success off your shoulders. 

 

“Breathe, move, rest, laugh, give, pray, and connect,” DeKlotz said. “I know when I’m stressed, I find myself holding my breath. Focus on breathing deeply. If you’re on your couch all day, stay physically active, even if it’s taking a walk. Get enough sleep. Try not to watch the news too much. Give back to your community.”

 

Deklotz said that practicing gratitude is also another big part of her life. She advocates for journaling, and making a habit of writing down one item that she is grateful for every day, like a warm blanket or a cup of coffee.

 

AP Psychology and Macroeconomics teacher Malia Bernards is a big believer in staying active, not only physically, but mentally.

 

“Challenge yourself to learn something new, something you’re interested in that has nothing to do with school, whether that’s sketching or baking or learning to cook,” Bernards said.

 

As the year comes to an end, focus on making connections, rest before the new year, and focus on your health. That will help you reach your goals of making your mark when the school year starts back up.

 

Signed,

 

Charlie

 

Dear Charlie, 

 

I am a freshman, and high school is a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do really well in my classes at the beginning of the year, but I’m kind of burnt out after a crazy year of COVID, wildfires, and quarantine. I thought high school was about meeting new people, going to dances, and taking every opportunity, but I am the only person from my school to come to Jesuit, and I feel very isolated because I don’t know anyone.

 

How can I make connections with new friends?

 

Signed,

 

Down and Out

 

Dear Down and Out

 

Making connections can be tricky, but it is a natural, and necessary, part of life, one which is especially important during not only a pandemic, but also the holidays.

 

“Swallow your pride,” DeKlotz said. “Be brave. Try randomly reaching out to people and see what you get. Don’t worry too much if you get silence. Maybe someone said something in a Zoom class that you appreciated, and you could text them and let them know that you appreciated their comment. I’ve heard people say it meant the world to them when someone reached out and texted them. Don’t underestimate the power of small acts of hope that you bring to other people.”

 

Theology teacher Sara Salzwedel mentioned some ways to reach out to family members of close friends during the pandemic-themed holiday season.

 

“Write letters to friends,” Salzwedel said. “Think about people to whom you could tangibly send something in the mail. I think anytime we start to go beyond ourselves, having those brief moments of respite where we put our focus on someone else I think really does help.”

 

Salzwedel and Bernards agree that the holidays are a time to check in with ourselves. 

 

“Just remember to take care of yourself first,” Bernards said. “We teachers are more concerned about [students’] health and well-being. Get outside and get some fresh air. Reach out for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable right now.”

 

It may be difficult to begin your high school career like this, but take care of yourself, reach out to people, and surround yourself with people and things you love this holiday season.

 

Don’t forget to reach out to old acquaintances. Touching base with friends, catching up on Zoom, or even getting together while socially distancing can make your season that much brighter.

 

Signed,

 

Charlie

 

Charlie encourages you to talk to a counselor or trusted adult if you have any concerns.

Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.
(Steele )
About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Crusader Comics: A Covid Christmas

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About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Senior Gregor McKelligon Uses Music to Express Himself

How as self-taught guitarist found his passion in making music

Senior+Gregor+McKelligon+uses+music+to+express+himself.

Gregor McKelligon

Senior Gregor McKelligon uses music to express himself.

Back in September, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight student musical talent. On September 21, three videos of exceptional Jesuit musicians, including senior Gregor McKelligon, were sent to the student body to vote on who would perform at Coffeehouse. Here, I interview McKelligon about his personal style, his passion for music, and where he got started.

 

Clevenger: When did you start playing guitar?

 

McKelligon: In 7th grade, I got my first guitar. That same week, [our class] was going to Outdoor School and I really wanted to play, so I grinded that whole week, and sang “The A-Team” in front of everyone. That was the first song I ever learned.”

 

Clevenger: Is that the first instrument you ever learned to play?

 

McKelligon: I played trumpet in middle school. But I probably wouldn’t have gotten a guitar if it weren’t for my sister. She was the one who was always interested in music, which is what inspired me to get into it. She also plays guitar, but she mostly plays country music.

 

Clevenger: Do you have a specific musical style?

 

McKelligon: I would say it’s a mix of alternative-pop-hip-hop.

 

Clevenger: And do you write your own music?

 

McKelligon: Yes, I’ve been writing a lot of music, and have been recording songs since February 2020. I have two songs, which I post on SoundCloud.

 

Clevenger: Have you always been a singer, or is it a skill you have picked up since you started playing guitar?

 

McKelligon: I’ve definitely gotten better at singing over the past few years, but there was a time in my life, when I was a kid, that I wouldn’t sing. You could not get me to sing because I was pretty shy. Now, singing has turned into a way for me to express myself. It’s a very comfortable thing for me. 

 

Clevenger: But you don’t take choir at Jesuit?

 

McKelligon: I took choir my freshman year, as part of the Art Wheel. When I took the class, I was in the middle of trying to figure out how I really felt about music. I liked it, but I didn’t think of it as a passion yet. Over the past two years, though, it’s become my main hobby.

 

Clevenger: Ok, let’s talk about performing. Who do you perform for now? I know you put out that video in September. What made you want to do that?

 

McKelligon: I have performed at Coffeehouse. I did the last Coffeehouse of freshman year, which is when my sister was a senior. That was our last opportunity to do a duet, so we performed together. 

 

Clevenger: So you said you perform with your sister. Do you have anyone else that you sing or perform with?

 

McKelligon: I have friends who have similar interests as me, and we work on music together. [seniors] Aidan Azavedo, Max Barton, Alex Perussi, and Alex Hayes all help me with my music. They take beats from online, and rap over them. Alex and Andrew are the producers, so they work with the microphone, and whatever work comes along with producing. 

 

Clevenger: How many songs have you written?

 

McKelligon: I have a ton of unreleased songs that I’m working on, but I only have two that are out right now. I usually write my own songs. Sometimes I’ll collaborate with my friends. I made a studio in my basement, so that’s where we play.

 

Clevenger: How do you find the time to work on your music?

 

McKelligon: When I have sports, I go to practice after school, and then come home to record a part of a song. Whenever I can find the time. I usually do my homework later at night.

 

Clevenger: Are you a self-taught guitarist?

 

McKelligon: Yes, and it was hard to keep going. After a while, your fingers start to hurt. But I enjoyed music a lot, and it was my way of expressing myself. Sometimes, I don’t even realize I have a feeling inside me until I get it out into a song, and then listening back to the song, the lyrics are so much deeper than I thought. It almost gives me a reflection of myself. I mostly write about things that are going on in my life.

 

I feel like there is a lot of pressure to play a sport or be part of an activity that everyone else is participating in. I like finding my own way. There’s something that makes me happy and excited with myself when I do something that’s different from what other people are doing.

 

Clevenger: When did you start recording your music?

 

McKelligon: I used to use the Voice Memos app on my phone. I didn’t know how to produce or anyone that knew how to produce, so I just started playing guitar and singing, and recording it on my phone. I recorded my first song in January 2020. We recorded it in a closet.

 

I’ve put all my money into this, but my parents are really supportive. I show them my stuff, and they support both me and my sister. I have a few friends that I’ll show all my work to. I haven’t released very much material, so there isn’t a lot for people to base my stuff off of, but I’m a perfectionist, so if I’m going to release something new, I want it to be perfect.

 

My best stuff comes out when I’m having strong feelings. One of my songs, “The Way That You Are,” just came out of me after I was fed up with certain things that were happening in my life. Even though some of the words reflect my anger in that moment, it is probably my best lyrical song. 

Back in September, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight student musical talent. On September 21, three videos of exceptional Jesuit musicians, including senior Gregor McKelligon, were sent to the student body to vote on who would perform at Coffeehouse. Here, I interview McKelligon about his personal style, his passion for music, and where he got started.

 

Clevenger: When did you start playing guitar?

 

McKelligon: In 7th grade, I got my first guitar. That same week, [our class] was going to Outdoor School and I really wanted to play, so I grinded that whole week, and sang “The A-Team” in front of everyone. That was the first song I ever learned.”

 

Clevenger: Is that the first instrument you ever learned to play?

 

McKelligon: I played trumpet in middle school. But I probably wouldn’t have gotten a guitar if it weren’t for my sister. She was the one who was always interested in music, which is what inspired me to get into it. She also plays guitar, but she mostly plays country music.

 

Clevenger: Do you have a specific musical style?

 

McKelligon: I would say it’s a mix of alternative-pop-hip-hop.

 

Clevenger: And do you write your own music?

 

McKelligon: Yes, I’ve been writing a lot of music, and have been recording songs since February 2020. I have two songs, which I post on SoundCloud.

 

Clevenger: Have you always been a singer, or is it a skill you have picked up since you started playing guitar?

 

McKelligon: I’ve definitely gotten better at singing over the past few years, but there was a time in my life, when I was a kid, that I wouldn’t sing. You could not get me to sing because I was pretty shy. Now, singing has turned into a way for me to express myself. It’s a very comfortable thing for me. 

 

Clevenger: But you don’t take choir at Jesuit?

 

McKelligon: I took choir my freshman year, as part of the Art Wheel. When I took the class, I was in the middle of trying to figure out how I really felt about music. I liked it, but I didn’t think of it as a passion yet. Over the past two years, though, it’s become my main hobby.

 

Clevenger: Ok, let’s talk about performing. Who do you perform for now? I know you put out that video in September. What made you want to do that?

 

McKelligon: I have performed at Coffeehouse. I did the last Coffeehouse of freshman year, which is when my sister was a senior. That was our last opportunity to do a duet, so we performed together. 

 

Clevenger: So you said you perform with your sister. Do you have anyone else that you sing or perform with?

 

McKelligon: I have friends who have similar interests as me, and we work on music together. [seniors] Aidan Azavedo, Max Barton, Alex Perussi, and Alex Hayes all help me with my music. They take beats from online, and rap over them. Alex and Andrew are the producers, so they work with the microphone, and whatever work comes along with producing. 

 

Clevenger: How many songs have you written?

 

McKelligon: I have a ton of unreleased songs that I’m working on, but I only have two that are out right now. I usually write my own songs. Sometimes I’ll collaborate with my friends. I made a studio in my basement, so that’s where we play.

 

Clevenger: How do you find the time to work on your music?

 

McKelligon: When I have sports, I go to practice after school, and then come home to record a part of a song. Whenever I can find the time. I usually do my homework later at night.

 

Clevenger: Are you a self-taught guitarist?

 

McKelligon: Yes, and it was hard to keep going. After a while, your fingers start to hurt. But I enjoyed music a lot, and it was my way of expressing myself. Sometimes, I don’t even realize I have a feeling inside me until I get it out into a song, and then listening back to the song, the lyrics are so much deeper than I thought. It almost gives me a reflection of myself. I mostly write about things that are going on in my life.

 

I feel like there is a lot of pressure to play a sport or be part of an activity that everyone else is participating in. I like finding my own way. There’s something that makes me happy and excited with myself when I do something that’s different from what other people are doing.

 

Clevenger: When did you start recording your music?

 

McKelligon: I used to use the Voice Memos app on my phone. I didn’t know how to produce or anyone that knew how to produce, so I just started playing guitar and singing, and recording it on my phone. I recorded my first song in January 2020. We recorded it in a closet.

 

I’ve put all my money into this, but my parents are really supportive. I show them my stuff, and they support both me and my sister. I have a few friends that I’ll show all my work to. I haven’t released very much material, so there isn’t a lot for people to base my stuff off of, but I’m a perfectionist, so if I’m going to release something new, I want it to be perfect.

 

My best stuff comes out when I’m having strong feelings. One of my songs, “The Way That You Are,” just came out of me after I was fed up with certain things that were happening in my life. Even though some of the words reflect my anger in that moment, it is probably my best lyrical song. 

 

Clevenger: Would you consider pursuing music as a career?

 

McKelligon: I mean, yeah, that’s the goal. I’ll go to college, and music probably won’t be my major, but it may be a side activity, because it is my true passion. My dream is performing.

 

Stay tuned for McKelligon’s new single, “The Day That I Realized,” coming soon to SoundCloud! You can listen to McKelligon’s other songs here: https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/CwfVkAgf2aw779mM9

Senior Gregor McKelligon uses music to express himself.

 

 

About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

A Review of TwoSet Violin’s “Prelude”

A piece, not a song.

Image+courtesy+of+Avni+Sharma.+

Image courtesy of Avni Sharma.

Calling all musicians, Youtube comedy fanatics, and casual modern classical music listeners: TwoSet Violin has officially released their first single. 

Twoset Violin is a popular Youtube comedy duo consisting of Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, based in Brisbane, Australia. Specializing in humorous videos about the everyday struggles of classical musicians, their content has garnered over 710 million views on Youtube, and 5 million followers on social media. Along with composer Jordon He, Yang and Chen surprised their fans by composing and recording their first single, “Prelude”. It was released Oct. 9th, and has since gotten 400 thousand views. 

The piece itself is beautiful, as if one were to imagine themself gliding through a meadow. It’s very reminiscent of Debussy’s style of music, incorporating various violin techniques such as trills, harmonics, and pizzicato. These techniques are meant to bring serenity and dimension to the piece by imitating the sounds of nature, such as the flutter of a bird’s wings or the sound of a babbling brook. Debussy, a composer of the impressionist era, often sought to find inspiration by imitating the beauty and nostalgia of his memories in his music. Composer He found inspiration for this piece the same way. 

“It has many eastern musical elements,” He wrote in a Facebook post. “It is the kind of music I grew up with.”

“Prelude” captures the peaceful and romantic essence of Zanhao’s “Butterfly Lovers Concerto” and the landscape of Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais”. In other words, it marries elements of modern French and Chinese classical music in a unique way. Yang and Chen’s violin skills enhances the piece through expressionist vibrato and varied dynamics. Chen, He, and Yang have created pure art, with “Prelude” painting a picture one can only see by hearing it. 

He recently released the sheet music on Musescore, a free website carrying thousands of free music sheets for musicians to learn. With many Jesuit students being musically inclined, Twoset Violin’s new piece could give students a new avenue to collaborate and bond during quarantine. 

About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Why is Among Us so Popular?

Among Us Cover Art

Among Us Cover Art

Among Us is a 3-year old mobile and computer game that has grown massively popular in the past few months. Inner Sloth game studio created the game and released it in 2018. When among us originally came out it had very few downloads, but at this moment it has 217 million downloads per screen rant. 

This game has grown so much because it is free on your mobile device and only 5 dollars on a computer. 

    You can play with 6 to 10 people, 1 to 2 people are the imposters. The imposters try to kill all the crew mates descritely.  The other players are the crew mates. Crew mates have tasks to do, like fixing wires, fixing lights and many more. If they finish all of their tasks, they win. 

    There are three different maps that you can play in: The Skeld(spaceship), Polus (outpost) and Mira (headquarters). Each map has specific tasks and places the imposters can sabotage. 

    “My favorite map is the Skeld map because it is a spaceship, and it has cameras where you can watch players,” junior Luke McDonald said.

    Once a crew member finds a body or has a suspicion about who the imposter is they can call a meeting and have a conversation with the players to figure out who to vote out. The imposters try to convince the other players it is not them. 

    “It is super fun to try to convince your friends that you didn’t do it” junior Gavin Conrad said.

    In Among Us, you can pick your name and what color your avatar is. You can also wear funky hats and different outfits. For Junior Brook Rundle outfits are his favorite part of the game. 

    “It’s super cool how you can personalize your outfits and be different from everyone else. I wear the purple color with a top hat.” junior Brook Rundle said

    Many young kids are inspired by older famous gamers like Ninja and Myth. Ninja, Myth and many other popular gamers who stream and make YouTube videos have been playing this game. These Celebrities playing this game influence the younger generation who look up to them. 

 

About the Writer
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JJ Gray, Staff Writer







JJ Gray is a junior and this will be his second year in  journalism student, he is excited to be in the class and have a great time. In JJ’s...

Crusader Comics: Giving Thanks

Charlie+Crusader+gives+thanks+for+the+year%2C+recounting+all+the+new+skills+he+has+picked+up+during+quarantine.

Steele

Charlie Crusader gives thanks for the year, recounting all the new skills he has picked up during quarantine.

Charlie Crusader gives thanks for the year, recounting all the new skills he has picked up during quarantine. (Steele Clevenger)
About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Alex Trebek: More Than a Game Show Host

Pictured+above+is+Jeopardy%21+star+Alex+Trebek.

Pictured above is Jeopardy! star Alex Trebek.

Pictured above is Jeopardy! star Alex Trebek (By Jim Greenhill on flickr.com)(License). No changes were made.

Alex Trebek, known by many as the host of “Jeopardy!”, passed away on November 8 at age 80 after a battle with stage four pancreatic cancer (Fox News/cnn).

In a video on the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel, the executive producer of the show, Mike Richards, gave a short eulogy about Trebek.

“He loved this show, and everything it stood for,” Richards said. “He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness, and for his love of his family” (Jeopardy!).

However, Trebek’s wholesome demeanor not only showed towards those close to him. Zorka Baricevic, a grandmother of multiple Jesuit students and long-time viewer of the show, shared her view of Trebek being a kind man.

“I just thought he was a nice man,” Baricevic said. “He always kept himself proper and very professional, and I liked his style. That was one of my favorite shows early in the evening.”

In addition, junior Hannah Nguyen also commented on his cordial nature.

“He had a very calm composure, and I feel like he gave off a warm environment,” Nguyen said. “He made the contestants feel calm, and he seemed like one of those people who never got too excited and never got too angry. He always made it a positive environment.”

Both also said they would have loved to have met him before he passed away.

Trekek’s dedication to “Jeopardy!” not only shows through his hosting of it for over 37 seasons, or over 8200 episodes, but his effort to improve the show (cnn). Trebek was known to look over each and every clue to make sure it sounded right, and if it didn’t he would rewrite it himself (cnn).

Not only was Trebek committed to educating people while entertaining them, but he was humble about it. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter about his accomplishment of passing Bob Barker in hosting the most game show episodes, he replied modestly (cnn).

“I’m just enjoying what I’m doing, I’m happy to have a job,” Trebek replied. “I like the show, I like the contestants and it pays well” (cnn).

Trebek’s impact went beyond the show through charitable efforts, which included visiting troops overseas and speaking on behalf of various charities (cnn). But at the end of the day, his kindness and humility, coupled with his commitment to the show, are what define the man we know as Alex Trebek.

Rest in peace Alex Trebek.

 

 

 

About the Writer
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Anton Baricevic, Managing Editor

Anton Baricevic is a proud editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. As a member of the class of 2022, Anton decided to take Journalism because his sister Mia,...

Podcast: Digital Learning: A Student’s Perspective Episode 2

A+student%E2%80%99s+digital+learning+setup+during+distance+synchronous+learning+at+Jesuit+High+School.

A student’s digital learning setup during distance synchronous learning at Jesuit High School.

About the Writer
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Isabel Crespo, Junior Editor in Chief

Isabel Crespo is an editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. She is a Junior at Jesuit High School and is excited to pursue her passion for writing on a deeper...

Quarantine Struggles: Halloween!

Quarantine+Struggles%3A+Halloween%21
About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Crusader Comics: Halloween Horrors

A Comic

Charlie+Crusader+is+not+phased+by+the+geese%E2%80%99s+attempt+to+frighten+him.

Steele Clevenger

Charlie Crusader is not phased by the geese’s attempt to frighten him.

Charlie Crusader is not phased by the geese’s attempt to frighten him. (Steele Clevenger)
About the Contributor
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Digital Learning: The Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

A+student%27s+digital+learning+setup+during+distance+synchronous+learning+at+Jesuit+High+School.

Isabel Crespo

A student’s digital learning setup during distance synchronous learning at Jesuit High School.

With digital learning becoming the new reality for students due to COVID-19, administrators and teachers have developed new and innovative ways to conduct learning. 

Online learning can be categorized into three learning styles: synchronous, asynchronous, and a hybrid of the two.

At Jesuit High School, digital learning for the 2020-2021 school year is partially synchronous with intermittent periods of asynchronous learning through Zoom calls. In the spring of 2020, however, asynchronous learning was enforced.   

“When we talk about synchronous learning we are talking about activities that students are doing in real-time,” Alyssa Tormala, the vice principal of professional development and innovation at Jesuit, said. “It could consist of a class discussion over Zoom or online, as well as group projects as a class or in small groups.”

Asynchronous learning is taught without real-time interaction where assignments and instructions are posted online for students to work through.

According to TheBestSchools.org, asynchronous learning can take the form of pre-recorded videos, self-guided lessons, lecture notes, or online discussions. 

Based on the feedback Jesuit collected during the spring, while some students enjoyed the flexibility of self-paced asynchronous work, the majority of students struggled with a lack of structure. 

“There were students… struggling because they did not have that specific structure in the day to help them keep track with where they were and what they were doing in any given time,” Tormala said.

Other Portland area institutions, like Lincoln High School, are also online.

For Katlyn Kenney, a senior at Lincoln High School, her teachers’ material didn’t translate well through an online environment, which impacted her ability to retain information.

“I would rather have someone teaching and lecturing me, or showing me math problems to my face then giving me a worksheet to read,” Kenney said. “Watching a video a teacher made or watching a Khan Academy video just doesn’t really click.” 

Without face-to-face interaction during asynchronous learning, student morale also decreased because of a lack of connection with peers and teachers. 

“We got a lot of feedback from teachers and parents [saying] that they were missing the person-to-person contact,” Tormala said. “Students and parents reported that the lack of personal connection with classmates and teachers made students feel disconnected and isolated. Even though Zoom is not the same as being in-person, it still provides a level of connection that purely asynchronous learning did not.”

Because the asynchronous model wasn’t conducive to learning and mentally sustainable for students and teachers alike, Jesuit switched to a mainly synchronous model in the fall, consisting of three to four 80-minute zoom calls a day through a block schedule.

When asked about what led to the consensus on 80-minute Zoom calls, Tormala said it took a lot of research and communication with other schools nationwide and in the local Portland area.

“Most schools seemed to be moving toward that block schedule and 80 minutes appears to be the average,” Tormala said. “If you talk with other Catholic schools in the area, they are all using a similar structure of a block schedule of three to four classes a day somewhere between 65-85 minutes. So are many of our fellow Jesuit schools around the country.”

Throughout the 80 minutes provided for each class, whether or not students are required to stay on Zoom the entire period or break-off asynchronously is dependent on the teacher and subject they are teaching.

“If you as a teacher feel it’s important that students be in a synchronous learning situation, such as learning a new topic…where you want to keep everyone in the same sequence, you can use the 80 minutes for that,” Tormala said. “We trust our teachers to have good professional judgment about what the learning needs to look like at the point that they are in their unit and for a particular content area, and what their students are needing.”

Now six weeks into the school year, Jesuit has been gathering feedback from students, teachers, and parents on the new partially synchronous model.

“We all miss being in school with each other in person,” Tormala said. “But we have received deep gratitude from many of our students and our parents especially. We’ve had a lot of students say that they really like the block schedule as long as their teachers keep it interesting.” 

Among the students at Jesuit who are embracing synchronous learning is junior Eli Flamoe.

“It has actually gone a lot smoother than I was expecting it to, and it feels more like real school,” Flamoe said.

Tormala commented that having 80-minute class periods “gives teachers more flexibility” and a “clear structure so they know what is happening on any given day.”

Despite the synchronous model promoting more interactive and structured learning, the challenge that remains is maintaining engagement while spending hours on Zoom.

“It’s just so much harder to pay attention online,” Flamoe said.

“I think everyone is feeling Zoom fatigue which is kind of to be expected and kind of unavoidable,” Tormala said. “Yet we have to encounter each other through this lens. It is the only way we can right now.”

There are many factors determining the success of synchronous or asynchronous learning with the main takeaway being that there will have to have a lot of trial and error before consistency and normalcy is established.

“With anything new it takes a while,” Tormala said. “Learning is a struggle no matter what it is that we are learning and right now we are learning how to engage in this environment on a regular basis. It will get easier because our brains will build new pathways to figure it out.”

About the Writer
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Isabel Crespo, Junior Editor in Chief

Isabel Crespo is an editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. She is a Junior at Jesuit High School and is excited to pursue her passion for writing on a deeper...

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