Finding where you should be

Some of you may remember Jeidy Luperon. She was given a scholarship by the Diocese of Arlington to attend Marymount University. Many generous donors helped make her dream of becoming a teacher a reality. Jeidy grew up in Bánica, in the Dominican Republic, where our Diocesan mission is located. She began attending college there but the offer to come study in America was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

An Interesting Start

Jeidy started at Northern Virginia Community College for a semester and then transferred to Marymount in January of 2016 to study English and Education. She excelled in school and graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award from her department. In addition to these awards she also was awarded the Mother Butler’s Gold Medal Award (given to the undergraduate student that represents the highest religious ideals of the institution), and an Academic Excellence Medal. Although she graduated in the first months of the COVID Pandemic, she hit the ground running. She was hired by St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Falls Church in July of 2020 to teach Middle School Language Arts. It is interesting that Jeidy found St. Anthony; the Saint who helps us find things.

Learning a New Way

To say her first experience teaching was a little different is an understatement. The school was in a semi-virtual state at that time, with some students learning from home and some learning in person. Having embraced technology at Marymount, now was the time to put those skills into action.
Jeidy pulled out every tool in her tech toolbox. The students were working with Chrome Books, so Jeidy had them access their schoolwork through Google classroom. As she was teaching them Language Arts she also taught them to be independent. For the students at home there were no bells to change class and no hall monitors helping them to get to their next class. The students needed to manage their own schedules. Jeidy gave them a syllabus and left them, somewhat, to their own devices. As they didn’t have lockers, she had them create a “study corner” in their room to help organize their school materials. She and the other teachers wanted the students not to just survive, but to thrive.

A Bright future

It was a different approach, but everyone knew things had to be different. Somethings, however, stayed the same. The Middle School Teams use of a collaborative approach became an even more powerful method of teaching. It acted as a bridge between the different subjects, helping reinforce how we are all connected, through Language Arts, through History and through Religion. It also helped remind the children that they are all connected even when they are apart.
Most everyone is back in person and Jeidy and the students are very happy to be together. Jeidy has certainly found her place in the education system and she and her students know, thorough the intersession of St. Anthony, they will continue to find new solutions every day.