The Senior-Kindergarten Buddy Program is one of the most treasured traditions at Colorado Academy. However in a time of remote learning and social distancing, it seemed as though the Class of 2020 and their Kindergartners would end the year without so much as a wave or a good-bye.
But never underestimate the determination of Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree and Senior Dean Gabe Bernstein to keep the tradition alive. Together, they created a complex Zoom meeting schedule that would be the envy of a major business. Over a period of four days, 41 Kindergartners each had a Zoom meeting with their 98 Senior buddies, all supervised by a counselor, teacher, or Mrs. Crabtree. They spent time reconnecting with books, art, stuffed and real animals, and lots of smiles and laughter.
Kindergartner Lexi Berba with Senior Buddies Lulu Geller and
Lexi Berba is ready for her Senior Buddies. She has a gallery of art to show off, and the Seniors respond with enthusiastic (and well-deserved) compliments.
“Is that what you have been drawing?”
“That is so good! I love seeing your artwork!”
Lexi tells them she has been working on writing sentences, but it is hard. “It’s okay,” her buddies assure her. “We all make mistakes when we write.”
Lulu and Mady ask Lexi what she has been doing lately. “Playing outside and riding my bike,” she replies. “But it’s too hot today.” Lexi asks the Seniors what they have been doing. “After school, I always go outside,” Lulu says. “I ride my bike, I run, and I read.”
Then Lexi decides to share a few Zoom tricks. “Look at this,” she says. “You can change the background,” as she changes her settings and puts herself in outer space. “How did you do that?” laughs Mady. “Can you teach me?”
“We miss you,” the Seniors tell Lexi as they say farewell, and Lexi replies by sending “Zoom chat” messages to the Seniors. The last one reads, “I love my sinerbady.”
Kindergartner Finlay Tansey with Senior Buddies Avery Lin,
Patrick Schmid, and Simon Lammens
Finlay decides to meet his buddies outside, which is absolutely appropriate, because it turns out that he is a 6-year-old expert on outer space. “Pluto is a minor planet,” he reminds his Senior Buddies, as he shows off his T-shirt with the galaxy. “My favorite planet is Mercury.”
In honor of Finlay’s passion, his buddies change their Zoom backgrounds to outer space. “Wish we could play hide and seek,” Avery says. “That would be awesome, but we can’t play it over Zoom.”
“How are you doing with staying home?” Finlay’s buddies ask. “I kinda’ miss school,” Finlay says.
His buddies can sympathize. “We all miss our friends, and we miss you!” they tell him.
Simon’s dog joins the meeting, and Finlay tells his buddies that he thinks he will sometimes be wearing a “coronavirus mask.”
“Should we fly away to Mars, so we can live normally?” his buddies ask.
“Yes!” Finlay says.
“Let’s go to a galaxy far from Earth,” Avery adds. “Wouldn’t that be the best hide and seek ever, Finlay?”
Kindergartner Piper Howard with Senior Buddies Phoebe Cannon and Andersen Dodge
“What’s your favorite class?” ask Piper’s Senior Buddies.
“I love all my classes,” Piper replies. “They are really fun.”
“I’ve been playing with clay,” Phoebe tells the group. “I love clay,” says Piper.
So Piper heads off to get some Play-Doh to create the “perfect ball,” and Phoebe walks with her computer to gather some of her recent creations, including a gift for Andersen. Andersen covers her eyes, while Phoebe shows off the present. Andersen says she has also been creating—in her case, she’s been making cupcakes to pass the time.
Phoebe tells the group that she will have a birthday in four days, and that prompts Piper to ruminate on the subject of age. “I think every age is young….I think even 100 is still young!…I wonder how it feels to be 100?”
Finally, Piper creates her “perfect Play-Doh ball.” She shows it off…and also shares news that demonstrates a vocabulary word most Kindergartners wouldn’t have had before 2020.
“I was going to go to Disney World,” Piper says. “But I can’t because of the coronavirus.”