Filing into virtual classrooms has become the norm for Lausanne students and teachers as the 2019-20 school year is completed off-campus.
For some students in the sixth grade, "walking" into their virtual lunch during the week is an exciting game of seeing what surprise might await them in the form of a special guest.
"I first had the idea when I watched John Krasinski’s Some Good News and saw how excited the kids were when he brought on special guests," teacher Kyle Lawrence said. "I thought about the social lunches we were having in the sixth grade, and I thought this was the perfect time to ask some people around town that are usually insanely busy this time of year if they could spare 30 minutes to an hour to talk to the students via Zoom."
So far, students in Lawrence's lunch group have gotten visits from Lausanne head basketball coach Marvis Davis, Lausanne student-athlete Johnathan Dejournett '20, Lausanne alum and Navy football player Cameron Kinley '17 and Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins.
"Honestly, I just want our kids to have things to look forward to, " Lawrence said. "The Virtual Learning Experience has been incredible for me as both a parent and a teacher, but I know our kids miss those interactions. I thought if I could bring some moments of joy and distraction to their daily life, this would be an excellent way of doing so."
The Lausanne girls are having their Lunch Zooms with the teachers as well. Kayla Pointer '20 joined the girls on Tuesday and they also have enjoyed events such as trivia and dance parties.
Both lunch groups will come together for guest speakers next week as three strong females in the Memphis community (Holly Whitfield of I Love Memphis, Noelia Warnette of Playhouse on the Square and Catherine Justis of the Wolf River Conservancy) in three different capacities will be represented.
"We based it, honestly, with how they sit at lunch for how we set up our lunch Zooms," Lawrence said. "We are trying to keep it as close to the school atmosphere that the students are used to."
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins answered all of the student questions during his visit with the class. He shared his passion and love for the game as well as his love for Memphis and being a member of the Lausanne community. Lawrence said the students in attendance reached out to me immediately and talked about how much they enjoyed the chat. For him, that is what makes it worth it.
Lawrence is in the process of setting up future guests and promises a few more "surprises" before the end of the year.