Education is Essential

COVID-19 has presented a tremendous challenge for Saint Ignatius High School to balance our mission of providing an academically rigorous, Catholic, Jesuit education along with the health and safety recommendations of leading healthcare experts. On Monday, March 15, students returned to full-day, in-person learning.

Saint Ignatius High School

At Home with Alumni Relations

Director of Alumni Relations Garen Distelhorst '96 shares the ways in which he and his family have adjusted due to the Stay-at-Home order. While working from home he juggles being a father, husband and remaining connected to our alumni community.
I hope that this message finds all of you healthy and safe. While I am certain that some of you are suffering, I pray for the well-being of all of our alumni every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world in ways that two months ago seemed only imaginable on the big screen. We’ve all been impacted socially and financially and our daily lives have been turned upside down. Most of us have probably settled in to new routines by now. For my wife, Katie, and I it certainly took a week or so for us to get our feet under us. I thought it might be nice to share some of what life has looked like at our home with us and our two boys, Garen ’33 (4) and Teddy ’35 (2).

After several difficult days, we found that creating and sticking to a schedule was the only way we’d be able to manage school, work, play, exercise, etc. Each morning we set a loose schedule for each boy broken into 30 minute blocks that include things like puzzles, books, school work, outside time, reading, play, etc. We try to start each day with a kids’ yoga class (we like Cosmic Kids Yoga), this seems to settle them down a bit and is a fun way to get the day started. Creating the schedule has also helped because we are sure to include my work obligations, meetings and exactly what hours I will be working. Additionally, we include when we will try to exercise, cook, eat, and so on. I know this is not rocket science, but it has worked for us.

While the schedule has been great, we’ve also folded in some activities and events that have really bridged the weeks together. In the first week or so of being home, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving complete with the full meal and football. We enjoy cooking, but have always gone to our parents’ houses for Thanksgiving. It was fantastic being able to experiment with dishes we both love, but had never cooked. I highly recommend this turkey recipe from Bon Appetit. Once the kids were in bed, Katie and I watched the 1986 Browns vs Jets playoff game. We both marveled at how watchable this old Browns game was. This has led to several other old Browns game viewings and we’ve been watching the 2016 NBA Finals on Fox Sports Ohio this week.

With the weather improving over the past couple weeks, we’ve been able to increase our time outside and this has been fantastic for the boys – and their parents. Countless walks and scooter rides around the neighborhood, fires in the backyard, multiple hikes in the Metroparks, and several socially distant outdoor visits from family have helped bring a sense of normalcy to our lives. Those of us with little kids do not have it easy, but it is possible to find a routine and keep them occupied. As a lacrosse coach, I wonder how parents of high school aged kids are coping. This has to be a brutal time for young adults, not able to visit with friends or participate in the activities they love. I think of our lacrosse players and the countless hours that went into preparing for this season. Their disappointment has to be debilitating at times. The same can be said for all of our spring athletes and winter athletes who couldn’t finish their seasons, thespians not able to perform in our spring musical, and on and on.

This virus will pass and we will eventually go back to our normal routines, but I will always cherish this unique time I’ve had with my kids and wife. This glimpse into their everyday life has been eye-opening. I try to make a point of being grateful for this time every day. Additionally, I’ve been working remotely with our amazing Alumni Executive Council and the day-to-day work of the Advancement Office continues moving forward towards our annual fundraising goals. This work helps to maintain some normalcy and helps to keep us connected to our Ignatius community. We’d love to hear what you and your family are doing during this time. Email me at alumni@ignatius.edu to share ways your have adjusted your normal routines to cope with the changing world. We look forward to the time when we are able to share our full community’s response to COVID-19. God bless all of you and go cats!