Thank You, Rectory!

Thank+You%2C+Rectory%21

Ever since December 13, 2019, our world has been reshaped. During this difficult time, many problems have arisen in front of us. This year is when humanity has been challenged; it is a time that reveals who we are on the inside. It might seem like a dark age to those who stare at the numbers of reported COVID-19 cases rising sky high every day on the news. However, we often fail to look around us, to focus on the beautiful blossom in the harsh blizzard. For me, that bouquet of tender flowers is my big “Rectory Family.” Rectory, I can’t thank you enough. 

When the school announced that it was going to be closed for the spring term, there were still about 25 students on campus. And among them was me, frightened and confused. There were a million questions in my mind: Where would I go now? Where would all these students on campus go? What will school be like? … At that time, I felt like there was a swarm of darkness swirling around me, breaking each thread of light that I still had in my mind. 

One by one, my fellow students were leaving campus and heading home. Twenty-five students soon became about eight. The school day soon returned in the form of “distance learning.” The usual lively ambiance did not. Now, with everything different, more and more questions arose in my mind. However, Rectory did its best to make the remaining students’ lives on campus as comfortable as possible, and as normal as possible. Therefore, sometimes an entire day would pass, and I would barely think about what was going on in the outside world. 

Just as the days seemed to be getting back to “normal,” more students left Rectory one-by-one. And before I knew it, there were only four of us left on campus. Facing the empty campus, I asked myself: “Will our school actually close?” 

Despite the fact that there were more faculty on campus than students, Rectory did not close. Dorms were still open for us, the dining hall was still open for us, there were still fun activities planned by Ms. O’Neil, and we could still go to the library for every day’s distance learning. We were still Rectory. 

Thank you, Rectory, for giving us a home during this anxious and unprecedented time.

Thank you to all the Rectory teachers. Although everyone had to adjust to this new way of studying, I haven’t really felt any significant change in my daily academics. There were rarely any technical issues. And, more importantly, I find it just as easy to connect to my teachers on Zoom and through email as it used to be to go to their classrooms and knock on their doors. 

Every online class is excellent; the teachers are utilizing the advantages of online classrooms very well and often prepare different activities for us. There’s no “routine;” every day is different. Every day there’s something fresh motivating us to forget about all the horrible things happening around us. Thank you, teachers, for always providing us with a great environment for studying. 

Thank you, Rectory dorm parents. Since I returned to Rectory after Christmas until now, I have been sleeping in my dorm for four months. And every night, there’s always a dorm parent here to say good night. And every morning, there’s always a familiar face to wake me up. Every afternoon, I can always go back to my cozy little room. Thank you, for always providing a home for us. 

Thank you, dining hall staff. Even now, when everything is closed, our dining hall is still open. During the weekdays, we never need to order anything from off-campus. There is always warm and delicious food made by our dining hall staff awaiting us in the dining hall. We even have fruit, milk, and yogurt that Chefs Dave and Kim brought for us from the outside. Thank you, dining hall staff, for always providing us with a delicious meal. 

Thank you, Mr. Ames. Every morning, you post a video for our e-assembly. I am really happy to see a familiar face on the screen each morning. For a second, I feel just like I’m sitting in the Tang and attending a normal morning assembly. You always have new ideas for the assembly. You always introduce the day with a different scene, from a different place, and with a different theme. It is really a pleasant way to start my day, and sometimes I even see myself on the screen! Thank you, Mr. Ames, for continuing the morning assembly ritual. 

Thank you, Mr. Williams. Sometimes you invite us to your house to have a nice cookout. We cook burgers, s’mores, and sometimes you even let us cook Chinese food! The food might not be great (fried rice…), but being away from home for so long, a dinner with Chinese food makes me feel just like I’m home. In addition to the cookouts, you also invited us to play pickleball in your yard. Even though we are not professional players, nor were we able to keep the ball off the ground for a long time, we had lots of fun. Playing a new sport and watching everyone get better is certainly a joy. Thank you, Mr. Williams, for having us at the Britain House. 

Thank you, Ms. O’Neil. During the spring break, you planned a two-week special vacation on campus for us. Every day, we had different activities and all those activities were super fun. There were mall trips, roller skating, Chinese buffets, ice cream, and countless other activities. After the school announced its closing, you had to work so hard to make up a schedule, and almost all the activities had to be changed. But with your amazing, creative planning, every day was different, and every day was fun. Even when distance learning started, you continued to plan weekly activities that fit perfectly with our academic schedule and gave us plenty of time for exercise and relaxation in the dorm. For other students who were not on campus, you planned Zoom activities that brought our community closer together. Thank you, Ms. O’Neil, for making every day so wonderful. 

Thank you again, Rectory, for giving us a home and a safe shelter. Thank you for making our days bright and sunny during this COVID-19 storm. Thank you for giving us hope and warmth. Thank you for erasing the distance between us. Thank you!

Thank you, everyone, for staying strong and enduring this life-changing experience together. Thank you to every hero on the front line, for showing up and protecting us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!