America’s students have persevered through a long and challenging pandemic that required isolation and adaptation, the likes of which were never seen before.
One North Carolina principal had a heartwarming message for his graduates as they emerged victorious from the grips of the pandemic.
At T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina, graduating seniors were surprised when their principal, Marcus Gause, broke into song at their commencement ceremony.
Gause belted out the classic, nonetheless challenging, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, eliciting smiles and cheers from the graduates and their families. Guilford County Board of Education member Winston McGregor posted the video to Facebook earlier this week and it has since gone viral.
“I don’t have to tell you how emotional these graduations have been,” McGregor wrote on Facebook.
The principal told ABC News that he had been nervous to perform the a cappella rendition of the hit song.
“Of course, there was a nervousness because nobody sings behind Whitney Houston and the greats like Dolly Parton, but the lyrics were really what I was trying to portray to my students,” Gause told ABC News.
(Video: ABC News)
There is no doubt that the quarantine measures required of students in the last year have taken a toll. The kitchen table became the classroom, Zoom calls replaced in-person tutoring sessions or meet-ups, and team sports or activities were out of the question.
Studies have shown that prolonged lockdowns and school closures are detrimental to the growth and development of children both socially and academically.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that the shuttering of schools increases a child’s risk of abuse, drug addiction, and suicide. They found school closures have a “substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.”
Reports also showed that virtual learning disproportionally harms the education of lower-income children.
Gause added a final lesson he hoped to teach his students, “One of the things that the pandemic has really taught us is that we need more love, that students know that we love and care for them.”
Gause’s students heard his message loud and clear. One student told ABC that he would “never forget” Gause singing to the graduates. “He is a big part of why I am who I am today,” the student said.
The video has since gone viral, garnering heartwarming reactions all over the internet.
“Mr. Gause has just raised the stakes for every NC principal this graduation season!” – @JoshStein_
“When educators teach and express love to their students, it is a gift to them, their communities and the world. (And as important as reading, writing and arithmetics.)
Thank you, Principal Gause” –@JAGhedini
“Thanks for bringing the PrincipalGause.
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