COXSACKIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Teachers and staff in the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District say they had their own sad feelings to fight off with school shut down due to coronavirus.
“It’s Spring, the nice weather, it’s usually full of life here. Kids get to hang out outside in the courtyard or PE classes are outside, the hallways are usually full and noisy. So it’s just difficult to be in an empty building,” explains high school Principal Freya Mercer.
“I miss my kids, I miss that we don’t get any real closure,” says chorus teacher Michele Edwards.
Edwards decided that to keep kids engaged and cheer up the staff all in one go, she would start a singing guess-who video styled after the hit show The Masked Singer.
“We have a lot of talented staff, but the students didn’t know it and I had a feeling that the staff would never just volunteer if they didn’t have a mask on,” she explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Edwards gathered videos from teachers and staff across the elementary, middle and high schools, then released three videos a day for a week with instructions on how to make your guesses. Students say they had a blast playing detective to figure out who was who.
“The teachers definitely went above and beyond and they made it pretty cool. It was fun to see them putting in effort to make our days. We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but we can still have fun and we can still be together,” says sophomore Brandon Morehouse.
Edwards says by the second round of videos, she had more and more people volunteering and even her fellow teachers were doing the homework making their best guesses to pick out their colleagues.
“A lot of [the staff] showed a different side of themselves, that even I had no idea that they could sing or be silly and comical. I felt so connected to the students and other staff,” Edwards says.
The students say this definitely beat normal homework and they loved finding new videos in their inbox every day.
“It was like I woke up every day looking forward to some kind of happiness where I could sit there and laugh and just have a smile on my face,” says senior Sage Murphy.
The staff too enjoyed both participating and seeing the videos shared to the entire school district. Principal Mercer got to break out her opera skills she hadn’t gotten to use since her days fresh out of her music major in college.
“It was a lot of fun to share that talent and hopefully when kids are back in the building, some students who may become interested in music or classical music, we can have those conversations and connect,” Mercer says.
“People really loved the series, and I can tell you, we have very limited staff here, but every day everyone was saying, did the Masked Singer email come out yet? Did it come out yet? That was pretty much the highlight of the day for us too,” she adds.