Class of 2021 can now come on campus everyday for the remainder of year

When Malvern Prep transitioned into the second semester one, changes were made in regards to Brotherhood Days. Part of these changes allowed for the senior class to come on campus for every Brotherhood Day for the remainder of the year, not just the week they were originally assigned.

Ben Franzone, Friar's Life Editor

With their time at Malvern Prep winding down, the senior class now has the opportunity to spend each and every day of their last few weeks of their senior year, together on campus; making even more memories that will last a lifetime. 

Starting in the Second Semester, the Leadership team at Malvern decided to make changes to the structure of Brotherhood Days on campus. Rather than having a particular grade come on campus every other week, it was decided to have grades come to campus one Wednesday a month for their Brotherhood Day. 

Mr. Ron Algeo,  Assistant Head of School for Academics, said that when they were planning for Brotherhood Days in the second semester, they really just wanted to “redo the whole thing” and change how these days would work from a structural standpoint. 

With the senior class now in their last semester at Malvern, the administration decided they would make a change that would allow for seniors to come on campus every Brotherhood Day for the remainder of the school year. 

“We actually were talking with some senior parents, knowing that it’s the end of the year, and some are sharing that, hey, we would really love to be together more,” Algeo said. “Because their time here is coming to an end, and it’s been an odd senior year for them, so we thought, let’s start with them, let’s see how this goes.”

“I spoke with my student leadership team,” Algeo said. “That would be Dr. Fry,  Mr. Dougherty, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Simpson, Ms. Suber, Father Drennen, and we started talking about this as a possibility,” he continued. 

Algeo expressed how “there’s definitely a lot of fingerprints” on this decision to bring the senior class on campus everyday.

“I also spoke to Mr. Sillup and Father Reilly,” Algeo said. “We had talked about it at a Leadership Team meeting and that’s where we discussed it, shared concerns, but also saw the benefits and said, let’s take this to the Caritas Committee, and see if we can get approval,” he said. 

Mr. Tom Pannulla, 12th Grade Academy Leader shared that while he wasn’t in direct conversation about the decision, he did share his feedback and thoughts about the situation.    

“I wasn’t involved in the direct decision, that was in the hands of the Leadership Team and the Caritas Committee, but when I was told about it I gave my input which was positive, it was positive feedback,” Pannulla said. 

As for the senior class, Josh Smith, Student Council Vice President, offered some insight into the decision and how he feels it may benefit his class as a whole. 

“Just being able to come every day and just enjoy every moment that I have is something that I’m definitely excited about,” Smith said. “You look at years past, especially those last few months, people seem to enjoy their time more because you have less class time and more time to just enjoy the people that you’re around,” he said. 

The new experience for seniors began on March 10th, when the junior class was scheduled to be present on campus for their Brotherhood Day

“We’ll see how it goes, how many kids take advantage of it, does it need to expand to other classes and things like that,” Algeo said. “We thought it might make sense to do that for seniors first; so that’s where we are with it,” he continued. 

A large number of seniors, as well as faculty members seem to agree that being on campus for in person learning has a lot more upside than being at home in a virtual setting. 

Both Pannulla and Smith admit that they prefer being on campus as opposed to online learning. 

“I think the vast majority of both students and teachers would agree that in person learning and education is definitely more effective,” Pannulla said. “So the days that I can be on campus that I can have the majority of my students here would be really beneficial for us.”

As for Smith, “Virtual School is very difficult to pay attention to, just to be locked in for it,” he said. “Just being in class, it really forces you to pay attention and you can be more interactive with the teacher.”

Being that this will be the Class of 2021’s last few months together on campus, the time spent together has really been a focal point of importance for Algeo and Pannulla, as well as for Smith. 

“I hope they take the opportunity to appreciate each other and time together, I think that’s the biggest takeaway,” Algeo said. “Saint Augustine talks all the time about community, living in community and one of our three huge values is unity, so I think that this certainly helps promote that,” he said. 

In a similar notion, Pannulla feels that one of the major obstacles the 12th Grade Team has faced was finding ways to get the senior class together as much as possible. 

One of the things we have been talking about … for seniors, is being together as much as possible on campus,” Pannulla said.  “And so, just having them here on campus, being able to take classes together, even just being able to hang out together during either transition periods or off periods, It’s a real positive for us,” he continued. 

As for the seniors themselves, Smith makes note of what exactly these extra days mean to him.

“I think, especially when you can count the days you have left as an average student, you want to enjoy every second you have left,” Smith said. 

Now that he has been able to be on campus for a few of these extra Brotherhood Day experiences, Smith definitely feels that these days have been a positive experience for him. 

“My experience with Brotherhood days have been good. It’s been great to be able to do things like go to class, watch Stations of the Cross, and have extra time to meet with clubs,” Smith said. “When the day is over I have a two hour block before practice where I have nothing to do. That’s been a great time to just hang around with the rest of the seniors,” he said. 

Algeo emphasized how important it is for the senior class to be grateful for this opportunity, mentioning how so many students, even in our area, have not had the opportunity to be on campus at all, in almost a whole year. 

“I want them to have a sense of empathy and perspective,” Algeo said.

“If they take advantage of it, and they’re able to come on those other three Wednesdays and be together, if they enter into that with that perspective of just appreciation, and joy just being together, I think that does support that Augustinian value of Unitas,” he said.