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Take the Mic: Finding creative ways to build school spirit during remote learning

Parker Miles Blohm
Isaac Velazquez is a 16-year-old junior at Franklin Pierce High School. He's secretary of the school's Associated Student Body, which has been making videos to celebrate students' different cultures as a way to build school spirit during remote learning.

How do you build school spirit when students are learning from home?

That’s been on the mind of 16-year-old Isaac Velazquez, a junior at Franklin Pierce High School in the Midland area of unincorporated Pierce County.

Sports have been a traditional way for the school to come together, but the pandemic forced delays for many sports seasons, including football and basketball. Isaac plays on both of those teams, and he’s also secretary of his school’s Associated Student Body, which aims to foster school spirit.

One way he and the other ASB leaders have been building a sense of community in this unprecedented school year is by making virtual assembly videos celebrating students’ different cultures – from Filipino to Native American to Hispanic. Isaac said it gives students something to share when they might feel isolated.

“We’re trying to bring peace to our students and make sure they have an escape,” Isaac said. He shared his story for KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices series.

Isaac, whose father came to the U.S. from Michoacán, Mexico, helped make the Hispanic Heritage Month video. He said students at the school, whose population is almost 30 percent Hispanic or Latino, have responded well.

“Being able to see students who are appreciative of what we put together has really brought a smile to my face as well as other people,” he said.

Listen to the audio above to hear his full story.

We’d like to hear from more teens and kids about their lives right now – hard times, joyful times and everything in between. For more information on how to submit a story for the Take the Mic series, click here.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.