The First (COVID) Thanksgiving

From+top+to+bottom%2C+left+to+right%3A+Jordan+Alvarado%2C+11th+grade%3B+Liana+Mayo%2C+9th+grade%3B+Vivianne+Alquicira%2C+9th+grade%3B+Lauren+Diep%2C+9th+grade%3B+Ms.+Sprague%2C+Math+Teacher%3B+Mr.+Ortiz%2C+History+Teacher%3B+Ms.+Mendoza%2C+Spanish+Teacher%3B+Desire+Soto%2C+11th+grade%3B+and+Ms.+Hoffman+%28and+her+cat%29%2C+Art+Teacher.+Turkey+drawn+and+designed+by+Ameena+Shafiq.

The Academy Chronicle Staff and Ameena Shafiq

From top to bottom, left to right: Jordan Alvarado, 11th grade; Liana Mayo, 9th grade; Vivianne Alquicira, 9th grade; Lauren Diep, 9th grade; Ms. Sprague, Math Teacher; Mr. Ortiz, History Teacher; Ms. Mendoza, Spanish Teacher; Desire Soto, 11th grade; and Ms. Hoffman (and her cat), Art Teacher. Turkey drawn and designed by Ameena Shafiq.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we asked students and staff at MECA, along with some other students from schools in our district, about their Thanksgiving plans.

What will you be doing for Thanksgiving?

Kaila Stephens (11th grade)

“I am celebrating thanksgiving this year with my grandma, it’s not grand but it’s nice because I haven’t seen her in a long time so it’s nice to spend time with her.”

Lauren Diep (9th grade)
“Unfortunately, I will not celebrate Thanksgiving traditionally this year due to the pandemic restrictions. Traditionally, my family would host a gathering in which gifts and food were exchanged.”

Benjamin Liu (9th grade)
“My family is planning to come together and eat hot pot and potentially turkey if there is still any left for sale.”

Vivianne Alquicira (9th grade)
“My family’s going to prepare a special dish and we will probably be FaceTiming some family members.”

Lauren Le (9th grade)
“I am celebrating Thanksgiving with just some family hotpot. We can’t exactly have everyone because of Covid-19.”

Desire Soto (11th grade)
“This year I’m celebrating Thanksgiving by cooking at my grandma’s house with close family.”

Ms. Mendoza (Spanish Teacher)
“I will be spending Thanksgiving with my significant other and their family and our dog. It will be her first Thanksgiving with us, since adopting her.”

Ms. Berrong (English Teacher)
“We’ll be doing all the usual stuff- eating great food, watching movies, etc.- but this year we’re also going to celebrate Chanukah (which starts on December 10) AND my son’s birthday early, because his job will be taking him to Atlanta for a few months and he’ll miss out on those celebrations!”

Ms. Hoffman (Art Teacher)
“My boyfriend works at a restaurant and Thanksgiving tends to be one of the busiest days! Unfortunately, he is scheduled to work all day – so it might just be me, Natasha the turtle, and Felix the Cat. Or, maybe I will cook dinner for my sister and her family to help with Elouise and Delilah! Either way, Thanksgiving will be celebrated, although on a smaller scale than usual.”

Ms. Sprague (Math Teacher)
“This year my family and I are just planning a small dinner for the close family…One of my favorite family traditions is that we make noodles from scratch using my great-grandma’s recipe; my aunt’s family makes them and brings them over every year.”


How is COVID impacting your Thanksgiving celebrations?

Lauren Diep (9th grade)
“Though the COVID-19 pandemic has limited my family’s Thanksgiving celebrations, I understand the safety concerns and dangers of gatherings.”

Jordan Alvarado (11th grade)
“In the past years, my family would also come together to have a Thanksgiving dinner…this year, because of COVID, we cannot.”

Vivianne Alquicira (9th grade)
“It may not seem like a lot changed, but when more people are around it feels different.”

Liana Mayo (9th grade)
“Celebrations are a time to have fun and be happy, coronavirus no matter how sad cannot break the joy each celebration brings.”

Ms. Berrong (English Teacher)
“We’ll be staying home in our ‘pandemic bubble’ to keep everyone safe!”

Ms. Yao (Math/PE Teacher)
“COVID is definitely limiting my thanksgiving celebrations as I will not be able to gather with my entire family. I do have some family members that I am worried about, in terms of health, which is why we are taking these precautions and celebrating with our own immediate family members.”

Caroline(9th grade at West Covina High School)                                                                                                   not only are there going to be fewer people, but we also are going to have to take more safety precautions to make sure everybody stays safe and healthy”

                                                                                           Jesslyn(9th grader at West Covina High School)

Normally those reunions would have almost 30 people and due to COVID restrictions, we will be unable to do that this year.”

Sherika(9th grader at West Covina High School)                                                                                                      

I mean, it’s a bit sad that other family members can’t come to visit us but all in all, I feel like our simple traditions won’t be heavily affected by the pandemic.”


What are you thankful for this year?

Lauren Le (9th grade)
“I’m thankful for my family this year.”

Benjamin Liu (9th grade)
“I am thankful that most of my friends are still sticking with me even though I went to a different school. It’s not the same as physically being there, but it’s a lot better than other people’s experiences with changing schools.”

Cassidy Leung (9th grade)
“I’m thankful that no one in my direct family has been too affected by the quarantine.”

Liana Mayo (9th grade)
“I am thankful for a lot of things this year. I am thankful for my supportive family. I am thankful for my true friends (cause those are hard to come by), I am thankful for my teachers and the effort they put into their lesson and the leeway they give, lastly and most importantly I am thankful for my significant other he has stood by me through all my hardships and has supported me undoubtedly. He has found ways to brighten each day of mine and has made me feel like the luckiest person on earth. Those feelings these days are hard to come by and I am very thankful.”

Desire Soto (11th grade)
“This year, I am thankful everyone in my family has been safe and healthy.”

Lauren Diep (9th grade)
“This year, I am most thankful for my family, friends, teachers, and peers. With the pandemic restrictions, connections are extremely difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, we have discovered alternatives and thrived in the face of such adversity.”

Kaila Stephens (11th grade)

“I’m thankful for good friends that check in on me once in a while if I am okay. I know everyone going through a tough time and I appreciate that even though they are busy, they take 5 mins out of their day to call me.”

Mr. Ortiz (History Teacher)
“This year, I am thankful that my health is good and I have a great support system among family, friends, and colleagues.”

Ms. Hoffman (Art Teacher)
“This year, I am incredibly thankful for the creative ways that we have been able to stay connected to one another and build communities! I am thankful for my student’s dedication to my class, and their willingness to be present, to connect, and to share. I am also thankful for my home, my family, and my garden, all areas that have been providing refuge as I have navigated these strange times.”

Ms. Sprague (Math Teacher)
“I am most thankful for my family, my health and my job working with the MOST AMAZING teachers and students @ Mt. SAC Early College Academy.”

Ms. Yao (Math/PE Teacher)
“I am thankful for my dogs, Cookie and Gidget! I am thankful that Cookie is doing much better. As a lot of you know, she has had some bad luck lately with multiple surgeries but she is doing GREAT now!”

                                                                                                   Caroline(9th grade at West Covina High School)

This year I am very thankful to even be celebrating Thanksgiving, especially with my family, as well as being able to have such an amazing meal with them.”

Alexia (9th grader at West Covina High School)                                                                                                 

“Being able for teachers to continue to educate us despite the hard times.”

                                                                                                Sherika(9th grader at West Covina High School)

This year I am thankful for my family and friends. They have helped me during quarantine in more ways than they realize. I’m grateful that I have such supportive people in my life.”


The Science of Gratitude

While COVID-19 may be making this year look different than any other year in our lifetime, it is important to acknowledge what we are grateful for.

Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami conducted research showing that gratitude can actually improve your mood, especially when done over a long period of time. In one study, they found that “those [participants] who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives” (Harvard Health).

Learn more about the science of gratitude with the youtube video below!

Soul Pancake

And from our Timberwolf family to yours, we wish you a happy and grateful Thanksgiving!

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier