The class dedicated the book to anyone who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the students who wore their masks.
What was school like in 2020?
At Tomoka Elementary, one class wrote a book all about it. "The ABC's of a COVID Classroom" by Lucy Lorden's fifth grade class provides insight into what it was like to be in school during a global pandemic.
“After ending the previous school year in quarantine, my fifth grade students came back to the classroom excited, but with uncertainties," Lorden said. "There were new rules and procedures to follow, and as the days turned into weeks, we discovered our school lives had changed drastically.”
From masks to social distancing, the students each wrote at least one page of the book. Thanks to funding provided by the FUTURES Foundation, the class was able to publish hard copies of their book.
Fifth grader Athan Harrell said he gives a lot of credit to authors who write chapter books. He and his class had enough work to do with just writing a paragraph each.
“I’m happy that we finally got it done so that we can present it," Athan said.
Classmate Ali Alyunis said he felt relief at finally completing their book. Last month, they still had about 10 letters to go, he said. But, they were able to meet their deadline.
"It’s actually pretty great," Ali said. "So I feel good about it.”
Student Lily Garvey said that, at first, she was nervous about her page in the book. She felt it wouldn't be good enough, but now she said she feels good about her contribution. She and her classmates looked forward to finally showing off their hard work.
“We practiced in front of two classes just to get ready," Lily said.
It's a school year that the students will likely never forget. Following a virtual presentation of their book to their parents— attended by the principal, Volusia County Schools Gifted Program Specialist Cindy Garber and School Board member Carl Persis — the students were able to sign each other's books.
“This keepsake book will help us share with others the unique experience that this school year has been," Lorden said.