“Socially Distant, but not Socially Isolated.” That’s the name of a creative campaign launched by Westwood High School’s Student Council to help students stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The social media challenge started on March 22, and will continue until students return to school, which is now slated for early May. Each day, Student Council members post a challenge on the organization’s Instagram page. Students and teachers then send their pictures to take part in a daily challenge or to prove they’ve completed a task,
“We met virtually with each other early on and brainstormed,” said senior Diana Bezdeneanu, who has been on the council for four years. “We then planned out the calendar for the first two weeks and each took on an individual event to work on and plan.”
One of the most popular posts was a challenge to find “Westwood’s Cutest Pet.” There were lots of dogs and cats, but even a turtle, a few lizards and a pet rock made the final cut.
Another well-received contest involved teachers sending in pictures of themselves as babies or children. Students would then guess which was which, based on clues provided.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people that they really like the challenges,” said junior Caroline Woodward, a three-year Student Council member. “We initially started this Instagram account in the fall to promote Spirit Week and homecoming. It’s translated to a virtual platform that’s helping us all still feel like high school students while we’re working at home.”
After Governor Charlie Baker announced that school closures were being extended until early May, the students got to work and created new challenges that will take them through this period.
“I’ve been so impressed with the work of our Student Council members,” said WHS Student Council Advisor Sally Patton. “These students are rock stars, and they have made this project so fun in a time when that’s sorely needed. It’s been a nice opportunity for the teachers to participate and engage with their students as well.”
The Instagram page has now expanded to include movie suggestions and trivia contests to keep students busy when not doing remote schoolwork.
“Over the last school year, we’ve really tried to bring the school together,” said Bezdeneanu. “I know a lot of people are feeling isolated right now, so this is a way to make us all feel a little better about being out of school and away from our friends.”