April 21, 2020
Students Bless Windsor Park Residents from Home
During this season of social distancing, Wheaton Academy students have been reaching out to Windsor Park residents with encouraging messages and music.
Senior Kelsie Benware spearheaded a project to create a youtube playlist of students’ music performances. In coordination with instrumental classes, students were given the opportunity to record a solo or ensemble to share online. The playlist is being broadcast to Windsor Park residents on a regular rotation. Today, there are nearly 50 videos on the youtube playlist!
Bunny Mirrilees, a former Wheaton Academy parent and Community Relations Coordinator at Windsor wrote to thank students for their musical gifts. Bunny shared, “In early April, Kelsie emailed us to ask if she could send a recording of a song and maybe invite some of her friends to do so, too. I could never have anticipated that we would receive two hours of beautiful music from your wonderful students! At first I laughed with joy, and then I was moved to tears. At this time in our ‘self-containment protocols’ to minimize the chance of contracting COVID-19, residents are spending more time than ever watching TV. Your ‘concert’ has given them something so much better than anything on our 100+ cable TV channels! I’ve asked that it be played repeatedly in the weeks ahead. You may never know just how many people you have blessed.”
Mr. Willemssen accompanied many students on the piano as a part of their video performances. Mr. Willemssen reflected, “I am both challenged by and thankful for our students’ desire to look outward during these days! I would love to encourage you to share the playlist link with anyone else who might enjoy it. Additionally, students are still welcome to submit videos to me for us to add to the playlist.”
In addition to offering their gifts as musicians, Wheaton Academy students have challenged one another to email notes of encouragement to residents. The letters are posted up to a community encouragement wall in the Centrum. Students sent so many letters that Bunny filled an additional binder with over sixty letters for residents to read. Bunny writes, “In addition, I have all those letters digitally and we can begin to print them off and deliver them to individual residents who may be struggling with loneliness and discouragement. So the music and letters will continue to bless our residents over and over!”
We are proud of the way that students are following Christ example’s as one who came “not to be served, but to serve.” Throughout the four years of high school, we work hard to nurture a spirit of servant-leadership among our students through scaffolded programs like Project LEAD. It is a delight to see our senior class rise to this meet this challenge, spontaneously leading their peers in service initiatives despite the disappointments that they are facing this spring.
Want to get involved?
- Submit a music performance video to Mr. Willemssen to be added to our playlist.
- Share this playlist with other communities who would appreciate encouragement from Wheaton Academy students: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvRqSjrLaFwvAYN1aSKHeCQNZCwBcVmy2
- Send your notes of encouragement to WindsorLettersWithLove@covliving.org