North Main exemplifies attitude of gratitude

on November 30, 2020

As the school district continues to cultivate an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE, North Main teachers share why they are grateful, with a little help from some North Main students. Katie Oppelt, the EXPAND teacher at North Main, shares how the concept of the video evolved:

Q: Why did you decide to create this video?
A: I collaborate with Sarah Bennett and Carmen Coss, coordinators of the newcomers program, to enrich the students’ curriculum with activities that focus on science and creativity. I decided it would be a wonderful addition to add to their lessons on being thankful/grateful in their classes with me. We discussed what we are thankful for and then the students wondered what other people in North Main were thankful for.  It was my original hope to have students practice public speaking and interview skills; however, with COVID, we thought it might be best to ask teachers and staff virtually.  Students were recorded introducing themselves and asking, “What are you thankful for?” These videos were put in a spreadsheet with clickable links for teachers and staff to watch the students’ videos, choose a student to respond to, type their response, and submit a picture of themselves.  The students practiced reading and speaking their response and were proud (with some nerves!) to read the responses.

Q: What do you hope happens among the NM families as a result of the project?
A:We are a grateful bunch here at North Main – teachers, staff, families, students.  Even when times are challenging, we remain connected and grateful for the community we have here.  I could say, “I hope this reminds all of us in the North Main family to remember what is most important;” however, feelings of gratitude have been and continue to be shared regularly via emails, phone calls, social media, or just when passing in the halls.  We have all felt the struggles, maybe shed a tear or shared our worries, but we have a strong resolve. We are resilient. I hope this video inspires people to pick up the phone or write a card sharing their gratitude with someone they might not have originally thought to share with.

Q: What is one key takeaway that you would like all M-W families to remember this Thanksgiving?
A: This time last year we could all have been feeling “tired” and the “holiday stress” beginning, but 2020 has pushed, pulled, and tested us in so many ways that I think we all have a new perspective.  We have a renewed sense of importance for slowing down, savoring a moment, or sharing a smile behind our masks. A lot has happened to keep us “distant,” but let the memory of 2020 not be a negative one.  Let 2020 be a year of resilience, strength, and gratitude.  The struggles and challenges have been different for all of us, but real nonetheless. We created new connections, we rose in the face of adversity, and leaned on those for renewed strength or hope when we felt we couldn’t muster it up.  That is something to be thankful for.

Having an attitude of gratitude, even when it was the most distant feeling in our hearts, is what kept us moving forward each day.  This Thanksgiving we have the perspective to see what a year can bring.  I hope we all have a renewed sense of gratitude for the littlest things; for all things truly “essential.”