For several Chatham Hall students in China, this year has been one of online learning and also in person support.
In response to travel restrictions, Stella Liu ‘21, Gloria Guo ‘22, Susie Zhang ‘22, Jessy Lu ’21, Anna Song ‘21, and Daisy Ye ’21 have not been able to return to campus recently. Yet they are still in community while thousands of miles away with routine texts and chats every day about their Chatham Hall classes, Senior Chapel Talks, and other important events on campus. They have even crafted their own support structure, and organize weekend activities to socialize and stay connected.
“We formed a small community of online learning students because we’ve faced some difficulties that we didn’t have when we were in the classroom,” said Lu. “We just have time zone differences to navigate and sometimes we have computer problems - just small things like that. During school days, if we are in the same class, we’ll text each other about homework or the cadences and help each other. It’s been really great and made being alone in our homes all day a little easier knowing that other people are doing the same things and having the same experiences as me.”
The students, who are spread between Shanghai, Luoyang, and Beijing, have also made time to travel to one another and see each other face to face.
“Sometimes during a weekend or during breaks we’ll hang out,” explained Lu. “Gloria actually has a photograph assignment about Shanghai as a big city that we’re going to do together. We’ve done escape rooms together, gone skiing, and eaten hot pots, too. We also plan to take a ceramics class. When we get together, we complain a little bit about school like all teenagers do but we also talk about how much we love and miss Chatham. In fact, if I have a chance to travel to another city, I’ll always try to meet up with another Chatham alumna who might also be there.”
For these students, staying connected to each other and Chatham Hall has caused them to slow down and reflect on their unique situation.
“Shanghai is such a big city with so many people, and Chatham is so rural but we still get to be connected,” said Lu. “I think that’s so magical in so many ways. The world is big, and also small.” Lu even incorporated this sense of magic into her recent Chapel Talk, a rite of passage for every Chatham Hall graduate. Lu’s video included interviews across campus that asked her peers “what have you gained from COVID?” Lu, who is an eternal optimist, put together a brilliant recording that reminded all of us that hardship can indeed bring us closer together.
A girls' boarding and day school in southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers advanced courses, global study and travel, as well as project-based learning. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.