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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

A lost year: Ms. Hudson’s fear for service
Men (masked) line up outside Saint Al’s to receive food from the food pantry during the pandemic. (Photo from
Ms. Hudson’s Freshman Class from 2020 serving at the Mckenna Center pre-pandemic. (Photo submitted by Ms. Laura Hudson)

For the Gonzaga Community, faith is at the heart of everything— whether that be through the prayers at the start of class or through the rowdy nature of the student section. Faith connects the Gonzaga community around a singular goal — to create men with and for others. This faith, which has strengthened the Gonzaga community for countless years, has taken a hit through the polarizing restrictions, limited teaching, and in-person participation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Ms. Laura Hudson, a freshman religion teacher, shared her concerns over the long-term effects the pandemic will have on school spirit, as well as participation in service from the underclassmen. 

In previous years, Ms. Hudson’s class centered around the idea of serving the community, and before COVID-19 she required her students to serve, even before it became a mandatory requirement from the school. 

“I think my biggest concern about religion class over Zoom is that the students don’t see service. I think teaching service, and how to serve, is a really important thing to learn as a student, and they can’t serve,” said Ms. Hudson, describing her class would be affected by the pandemic. 

Ms. Hudson’s biggest concern over teaching virtually is that students will lose that connection with the McKenna Center, which would usually be part of a normal academic year.

“I am worried when they end up serving at the McKenna Center— whether that’s in September or next March, who knows when we will be able to do service in person— that this is going to be a little bit of a lost year for them …  that they’re not going to be as comfortable, and we will have two ‘freshman’ (a real freshman class and a sophomore class who understands service as a freshman would) classes starting at the McKenna Center,” Ms. Hudson said. 

She expressed her fear about how students would feel less inclined to serve the McKenna Center due to not being familiar with it. Undoubtedly, awkwardness and mistakes fill freshman year. Still, high school students have to endure this essential year of development to understand the ropes and find a place within the community at Gonzaga. 

“It is awkward, and you need to feel that awkwardness. And then think about ‘Ok, why do I feel awkward in this situation?’ I don’t want this whole grade not to go to the McKenna Center or be worried about being awkward when they do go,” Ms. Hudson said. 

Without the ability to see and interact with classmates in school, students will have a hard time connecting on a deeper and more meaningful level.

“The human experience is lost. They don’t see me, they don’t see each other, and they don’t see the McKenna Center,” Ms. Hudson said. 

Gonzaga’s community draws students from all over the DMV, and the lack of human interaction has taken a toll on the school’s sense of community. The McKenna Center is an invaluable resource in guiding students into active participation within the community. 

“Our community was literally on campus, and if we can’t go to campus, it’s hard to be a community. I entered the pandemic pregnant without anyone knowing, to now having a baby with the pandemic still ongoing,” said Ms. Hudson emphasizing how the pandemic has taken a significant amount of time within our lives. 

Hopefully, Gonzaga students can rebound and learn to become active participants in service through our community’s strength for years to come. 


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