Gaudet fifth graders share what it was like to live through COVID-19 in the new book "When The World Was Masked."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 712-2221 or email@example.com
GAUDET LEARNING ACADEMY FIFTH GRADERS PUBLISH
A BOOK ABOUT LIVING THROUGH COVID-19
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (JUNE 22, 2021) – COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the globe in the past year.
Fifth graders in the Gaudet Learning Academy recently published a hardcover book about their experiences in school, at home and beyond to provide the perspective of 10- and 11-year-olds living through the pandemic.
Called “When The World Was Masked,” the book is available online at Studentreasures.com/ordercopies using the PIN No. 7151927. Books can also be ordered by calling (800) 867-2292. A copy of “Masked” was donated by the class to the library of the Aquidneck Avenue school as well.
Unveiled to the public today during a media event, students talked about their contributions to the book and answered questions about how their world has changed, among other topics.
“To see the progress they’ve made and how they’ve matured this year is amazing,” said Chyleene O’Connor, who co-teaches the class with Tricia Jenkins and Deb O’Bryan.
“I feel like this is going to truly be part of their history, something they talk to their kids and grandkids about and the best part about this entire experience is they wrote it.”
The cover of “Masked” features the title of the book along with a hand draw picture from fifth grader Gwendolyn May of two hands holding the planet Earth, which is partially covered with a mask.
Based on what students shared from the upstairs library that’s doubled as their classroom this year, that image tells just part of the tale of the book, which started in January.
For some, COVID-19 brought initial concerns and fears of the unknown, which were later dissipated by “silver linings” like spending more time with family and pets.
To others, it was finding new ways to keep busy because playing with friends and traveling was off limits.
While there were similarities among some of the stories, each student found a way to focus on different components of the COVID-19 experience, including one who outlined the impact of the toilet paper shortage.
O’Connor said students and staff worked hard on “Masked.” Much like best-selling novels or other popular books, “Masked” went through several revisions, at least three to the text alone. And that doesn’t include the rewrites and improvements made by the students.
Throughout, students shared ideas and helped each other out, all to help better convey their message concisely in a way to best get their points across.
O’Connor said the book was the endgame, but the process of learning along the way was just as important.
“We did many, many drafts,” O’Connor said, smiling. “It was a good way for the students to share their thoughts and experiences and I feel like I learned a lot about each and every one of them through this process.”
To a person, students said that there was no question COVID-19 transformed their world and they were all happy to see things returning more to normal.
“I think it made a big impact on school,” fifth grader Ella Robson said. “It taught me a lot about people.”
When Jorge Pacheco started writing his section of “Masked,” he said he did so with his mother in mind.
“We dedicated it (the book) to our families because they helped us through the pandemic,” Jorge said.
Several students said they were inspired so much by the process that they planned on writing – or had already started writing – books of their own.
“I’m already working on a book with my sisters because of this,” fifth grader Vivienne Bright said. “It’s going to take a while to do, but it’s a fairy tale we came up with.”
“It energizes you to write a book,” fifth grader Molly Spells said. “It seems like a good project I’d like to do with some free time this summer.”
As for the restrictions of COVID-19 lifting somewhat, students said they were looking forward to seeing family and friends more and enjoying the summer.
“I’m very excited to see my family,” fifth grader Brystol Rodrigues said. “I haven’t seen my great grandmother in a while because of COVID.”
“It will be nice to go places and see people a bit more,” fifth grader Caryn Terpening said. “We weren’t really able to do that much last year.”
In the meantime, everyone agreed they’d like to see COVID-19 in the past as much as possible. Those sentiments might have been best summed up by fifth grader Cameron Costa.
“I can’t wait to not wear a mask,” Cameron said, clearly smiling behind his mask throughout the event. “I want to see my friends’ faces.”