Oakcrest students didn’t let the pandemic stop them from having a fun and fruitful summer. From internships to virtual programs, students took the opportunity to grow, learn and serve throughout their months of vacation.
Kateri Castillo and Annaliese Anderson had a blast doing Lights! Camera! Action!, a leadership program focused on media and social responsibility. "I love the behind the scenes work that goes on in a movie or TV show. I create my own movies and am part of the newspaper club at Oakcrest. Since LCA focuses on how film and media is created and influences society, I thought that this would be the perfect camp for me," Kateri says. The program was originally supposed to be in California, but due to COVID, it moved to an online format. In spite of the change of plans, Kateri thoroughly enjoyed the virtual program. It included speakers from all different aspects of the filmmaking industry, such as Directory Timothy Reckart, who introduced participants to everything from sound and music to cinematography, and storyboard artist Denise Koyama, who worked on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. "Cinematographer Sean Conaty told us what it is like to be a cinematographer and how it is not only about what camera to use, but how to convey the theme or message in the specific camera shot," Kateri explains. "He works on a lot of commercials and I don't think I will be able to look at a commercial the same again! LCA was such an amazing experience and I am hoping that I will be able to attend in person next year!"
Alexa Lerner participated in an online Virus Evolution program hosted by Brown University. The course went into detail about the history of viruses and had an introduction to coding Python. Students completed assignments based on the lessons and took part in online class discussions. "At the end of the two-week course, we had to present a PowerPoint to the class with a plan for the next pandemic and how we could improve how we responded to COVID-19," says Alexa. "I was able to get to know people from all around the world because there were students from everywhere around the world, such as Seoul, India, and Canada."
Oakies threw their energy into serving the community as well. Catalina Scheider Galinanes, who has served as president of Oakcrest's Respect Life Club and spoke at the national March for Life rally last year, was asked to speak for a virtual Walk for Life benefiting Care Net Pregnancy Resource Centers, Divine Mercy Care, and the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. Catalina had the honor of being the only live featured speaker of the event. She also created and led a Walk for Life Team which helped contribute to the total amount fundraised of over $110,000. Hannah Lu put her musical talents at the service of others by organizing a student concert to raise money for COVID relief for INOVA. Participants made videos of themselves performing different pieces of music and Hannah played the harp. Their efforts raised $3,000.
Katiebelle Thompson participated in Notre Dame University's virtual Summer Scholars program, taking an online literature course entitled "Hope and Faith in the Age of Dystopia." The program included time to talk with university department heads and participate in fun activities with the entire group of students, including a virtual escape room and virtual trivia night. She also interned with the Glen Echo Park Aquarium (GEPA), helping to put together programming for its first-ever virtual summer camps. She developed games and art activities to engage campers and helped re-design revitalize the aquarium website. "I am continuing to help out at GEPA and plan to have our Marine Biology Club partner with them on service projects throughout the coming school year," Katiebelle says. "The best part about my GEPA internship is the real-world experience in my chosen field of Marine Science."