Achieving a Sense of Normalcy through the Hybrid Learning Model

Saying that my senior year at Cardinal O’Hara High School wasn’t what I thought it was going to be is an understatement. However, I am so thankful that the hybrid learning model allows me to have some sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time. Being able to connect with my teachers and fellow students in the classroom and partaking in various activities after school has made this year one that I will never forget.

One thing I have realized throughout the pandemic is how much I have taken going to school for granted. I can confidently say that each one of my teachers has thought outside of the box this year in order to accommodate their lesson plans for all students and have readily adapted to the technology. One of my favorite parts of the hybrid learning model is that teachers have utilized a multitude of online resources to benefit all students, regardless of whether they are in school, learning from home, or completely virtual. 

Another highlight of the hybrid learning model is that we have been able to continue after school extracurriculars through Zoom since Mrs. Evert, our Assistant Principal of Student Affairs, has been working with moderators so that every club is up and running. This is especially important to me because the extracurricular activities at O’Hara make my O’Hara experience so special. Whether it’s prepping for the year ahead in Lion Ambassadors or connecting with the incoming freshmen through Lion Connection, O’Hara has managed to maintain one of the most crucial parts of every Lion’s experience. In Cappies, the returning members of the critic team, along with our moderator, Mr. Kelly, are continuing to hone our writing skills by viewing previous O’Hara shows, holding our own discussions about them, and writing reviews. Although the Greater Philadelphia Cappies season has been postponed until January, we have utilized Zoom to strengthen our observing and writing skills. Just this past week, we watched and reviewed Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! The collective ensemble brought much energy and passion to their performance and made me reminisce about how much I miss watching live theater!

As a senior, I have the difficult task of juggling my classes with the college process. However, for me, this has all taken place online. Although my college search has been limited to various webinars, these interactive, virtual information sessions have been informative and have allowed me to condense my list of colleges. While I may not have visited all of my top prospects, these webinars have given me enough background on each college. Although navigating the college application process virtually is challenging, I have been able to connect with admissions counselors at my potential colleges to answer my questions. Shoutout to Mrs. Graney and her team of counselors for working round-the-clock to help all of us seniors navigate through this complex process as well! Even though I went into the college process feeling overwhelmed, I can confidently say that, as I near the conclusion, each college successfully adapted to this unprecedented situation and made me feel like I was on their campus even though I was often thousands of miles away. 

To quote a line from Frozen 2, right now I feel as if I am going “into the unknown” during this anything but typical senior year. However, O’Hara’s response allowed me to achieve a sense of normalcy and ground me in my faith during these challenging times. In times of uncertainty, sometimes our faith is all we have.

Written By: Katie Tuberosa ’21