Erin H. Vu

Our Mother of Sorrows
Tucson, Arizona
Erin H. Vu, Principal

Celebrating “Normal”

Several years ago, when I became the principal of Our Mother of Sorrows, I began each day by leading the Morning Prayer. Over the years, this became a part of the normal rhythm of the school day. While I have always liked our Morning Prayer, I can honestly say that the Morning Prayer and announcements was not typically a momentous moment in my day.

Then, the pandemic hit, and the building was silent for months.

Without the sound of the kids, the school was nothing more than a brick building with no purpose. Because of the pandemic, we have tried to re-imagine many of the everyday events and activities so that when the students returned to the building, we could maintain a sense of the normal routine even if it looked a little different.

Many things posed challenges, but we were committed to the idea that we could maintain our community with a little creativity. For Morning Prayer, the staggered start time for our on-campus students posed an obstacle as did the fact that 1/3 of our school community elected to remain online. As a solution, I created morning pray as a recorded video which provided the perfect opportunity to begin our day with prayer regardless of where students were learning or when their school day started.

As a result, our Morning Prayer and announcements have evolved. We begin with a themed reflection and prayer.  Following our prayer, we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and share a word for the day. As a way to celebrate our community, we announce the birthdays and share the names of students who have been “caught” living out our school learning expectations that we will grow in faith, lovingly serve others, and grow in knowledge. Finally, we kick off our school day with a joke that is typically provided by the older students.

If you stand in the hallways during the announcements, you can hear the hush in the classroom as the students listen for the joke, and then you can hear the laughter escaping the classroom. In the past, the sound of laughter was so common that it was easy to ignore. Now, after having silent halls for months, I cherish the sound of second graders laughing after a corny knock-knock joke.

The Morning Prayer and laughter sound like nothing more than a normal school day, and that is just how it should be.