It would be an understatement to say that everyone is in uncharted waters with the COVID-19 pandemic. So many things are new and confusing and as a school principal Mr. Arthur Adamakos has to deal with his fair share of them. A remote interview allowed the long-time principal of Memorial High School to share his thoughts and feelings about the chaos surrounding this unique situation.
The biggest change for Memorial at large is remote learning. “I am not a fan of remote learning because education really is about making a positive connection with an instructor and getting instant feedback… There is also [the] social aspect [of] being with people your own age and sharing experiences.”
It is not just a difficult adjustment for students, though. Teachers also had to scramble to put together remote lesson plans. Mr. Adamakos observed that “although that’s not really the way they signed up to teach the class… they’re making their way… as we’re getting more into it, they’re getting a little more comfortable with the remote learning.” Teachers were dropped in the deep end without any kind of training for teaching students online and “had we had summer to talk about [remote learning] it would be far more organized… than it is right now, but really I think they’re doing a great job under the circumstances and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
One of the other big issues with switching to remote education is the postponing of graduation. Mr. Adamakos understands what the students are going through, and said “although graduation is the most important thing for seniors right now, their health and well-being must be above that… I really feel bad for the 338 people who have worked hard and looked forward to this for 13 years.” Graduation will not happen as normal, but the new date and details of graduation are being figured out.
“[L]et’s face it,” the principal continued, “you only graduate from high school once… it’s such an important capstone event that you’d want to give it the dignity that it deserves. That’s why we’re being patient rather than putting something together half-baked… I live for graduation, I live for the Class Day, I live for those end-of-the-year events and right now it looks as if most of them will not take place. That’s why we’re putting most of our efforts into the graduation.”
The seniors are not the only ones leaving this year; Mr. Adamakos is scheduled to retire on June 30th. “I only go through the school year so I can be at [end-of-the-year events] and see the smile and joy on a senior’s face when it all happens for them,” so retirement is certainly not going to stop this proud principal from being at graduation.
“Regardless of when it’s going to take place,” Mr. Adamakos promised, “I’m gonna be there. I’ll force my way in if they won’t let me be there. I’m gonna be there no matter what… it doesn’t really matter [when it is] because the only thing I have scheduled this summer is my shoulder surgery and I’ll just have to postpone that… I’m gonna be there for the last class that I have.”