Loyola held its first virtual faculty and staff Back-to-School Gathering via Zoom on Friday, Sep. 18. The meeting allowed teachers to welcome new colleagues and recognize various returning staff members who have transitioned into new positions. The gathering, which primarily focused on creating opportunities to get to know the new staff members, was held to promote relationships among the faculty and staff.
Principal Frank Kozakowski stated, “The gathering was our way of staying connected during this difficult time. It allowed us to do community building activities and get to know each other more, especially the new faculty.”
Unlike previous gatherings, which have been traditionally held on campus, the event was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mathematics teacher Judy Dell’Amico and counselor Kelly Farland acted as MCs of the virtual gathering. Some of new faculty members present at the event included Administrative Assistant of Student Activities Alejandra Chavez, Wellness Coordinator Natasha Hamlin, social science teacher Roberto Cabrera, English teacher Mary Dahm, and Administrative Assistant of Business Affairs Jasmine Torress-Coss.
Spanish teacher Kaitlin Collins-Pardo said, “You have people who you’re friends with on campus. The teachers and staff are the same way. We try our best to create and foster friend groups and relationships.”
Kozakowski stated, “I think we have focused on other key factors to get school rolling. Now is the time to move in this direction. A community or family loves one another and supports one another. They care for one another. They help when another falls.”
The faculty and staff participated in virtual activities to learn more about their new colleagues and to catch up with one another. They listened to songs, looked at photos, conversed in breakout rooms and engaged in a giant Kahoot on Loyola trivia. Several teachers and staff members were rewarded with gift cards for reaching the Kahoot podium.
Collins-Pardo added, “The faculty tried to have fun on a macro-level through these activities. And in the micro-community, we try to spend time with each other and get to know each other more.”
Loyola faculty and staff also recognized several returning employees who have taken on new positions: Mara Baltazar, counselor; Daniel Annarelli, Director of Faculty & Global Education and social science teacher; Heath Utley, Dean of Men; Angela Reno, Director of Admissions.