With a continued emphasis on supporting the needs of the whole student, St. John the Baptist Catholic School encouraged its junior high students to “…dance, so when you get to heaven the angels know what to do with you.” That’s right, in spite of the pandemic, St. John’s found a way to host a dance for its 7th and 8th grade students.   

“In a world where our young people seem more disconnected than ever, hosting a dance just seemed to be the right thing to do,” said Principal Paula Viles. “Technology continues to provide more and more opportunities to communicate over the internet, the pandemic is pushing our society to rely heavily on media driven resources, and our young people just aren’t getting the face-to-face interaction they truly need.” 

So, St. John’s faculty and administration made it happen. The dance took place outside in six socially distanced tents so stable groups could remain separated from each other and at the same time be together. The live
DJ provided appropriate music and other fun social activities that allowed the junior high students to enjoy the afternoon while staying healthy and safe. Students wore their masks and individually packaged snacks and beverages were served. 

“In order to allow our students the opportunity to grow in their socialization skills, we felt the extra effort was worth it,” said Fr. Damien Giap, the school’s rector. “Friday, Feb. 26, was the Solemnity of the anniversary of our church’s dedication, so we were able to give our students this special gift during the current season of Lent. The social emotional health of our students is a primary concern right now and the development of social skills, cultivation of positive emotions, and some time to practice face-to-face communications skills seemed to make good sense.” 

“We need to keep our children healthy and thriving,” said Mrs. Viles, “spiritually, academically, physically and social emotionally.”