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Congratulations to the New Albany High School Class of 2021. The year started with empty classrooms and limited activities, but ended with the feeling that “normal” was returning.

This will be the last time I write this letter as I am heading to the world of retirement. As educators, I hope we have learned that on the secondary level, virtual education or online classes (they are not the same thing) provide horrible learning environments.

I averaged about six students in the classroom. The last eight weeks my largest “in person” class increased to 11 in two classes. I liked those classes because I was able to teach again. The rest of my students were in a box on my desk, and so many of those students were not really there.

Many students log-on and then go somewhere, or watch their favorite video. They also forget to log-off. They turn in assignments blank, so parents will think they completed the assignment. When they were younger, parents were proud of them when they learned to share. Virtual education has taken sharing to a new level. Yes, cheating is off the charts.

Students were not ready for the personal responsibility and expectations of virtual learning. They had never faced this environment before. Toward the end it became more about saving a grade and learning was left behind. I am sure all will do better if there is a next time.

As I leave, I hope everyone will do everything possible to prevent a reoccurrence of the last 14 months of school. There will be hundreds of students coming back who have not been in a school building for almost three semesters. It will be a huge challenge for everyone. I wish the returning students, teachers and staff all the best. To all Bulldog graduates, remember to search for a career that will make you happy to go to work each day. Plan your lives with things you look forward to doing. It will help you to get through the tough times.

Congratulations and Good Luck! You will be missed!

Steve Bonifer, New Albany

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