Hello, Trojans! My name is Gianluca Porzio, and I’m the president of the Executive Council at EA. I have been at EA for around 14 years, started here, and will finish here. I am a senior and Mrs. Porzio’s son, the Science teacher in seventh grade, and the best teacher ever!
Distance learning...who would have thought! Although this new method of learning has been hard for everyone, EA staff has made an excellent effort to make all students feel supported and successful. Teachers have gotten super creative and are always there if we need help. (Believe me, I know!) The school has also brought guest speakers to learn different things about our country and ways we can better ourselves. Counselors have done an amazing job of helping students with college applications and emotional support. One alumna, Gaby Quiros, on a webinar we heard, said: “We are all under the same storm but in different boats.” One way or another, this year has been difficult for everyone, but this will make us stronger in the end. I always compare this to El Salvador's civil war. Our parents, while growing up, faced difficulties and uncertainties, too. But they survived and became stronger. We will, too!
I believe all humans have to go through certain trials in life to become stronger for the future. Years later, we will look back and feel proud about how we were able to make it through, learning valuable experiences and lessons. Patience, perseverance, cooperation, and empathy will become our trade-mark. Memories of how we faced these challenging times will accompany us through our lives. Just as our parents tell us stories about the war, I’m sure we will also share these stories with future generations. Stories of survival and triumph, of optimism and faith.
Personally, I have tried to make this situation the best it can be. Yes, I´ve felt lonely, we all have. Reaching out to friends who we care about and feeling that in return is one of the most valuable responses we can have to this pandemic. Video games have been a total game-changer in staying connected with my friends. When we are done with homework, my friends and I play various games together and talk to each other. I also try to have video calls with my friends from time to time. YouTube has also been a tool I’ve used a lot to learn non-school related things, like computer hardware and aviation. I’m also taking AP Computer Science through an online school EA partnered with. I´ve met students and teachers from around the world! This fully online course has helped me a lot as it blends perfectly with the school’s distance learning program. I’ve been able to take advantage of the half days on Wednesdays for studying SAT or working on college applications.
EA faces these challenging times with an important focus: wellness. We can all say we have learned a lot about ways to practice being happy, healthy, and safe. Exercise, a balanced diet, short breaks, a good night's sleep, family time, and leisure time are all important things we need to incorporate into our routines. If you can't do everything, for starters, commit to doing something. Yes, we miss our teams and sports, we miss the face to face contact we had at school every day, and since we are always home, we even miss the feeling of wanting to get there after school. Nonetheless, we can get creative, learn new things, or even pick up on old hobbies and activities we had forgotten about.
It's been tough, indeed, but gratitude is the key to remaining strong. We have to be grateful we have each other, and an entire community looking after us. This is what being a Trojan is all about. We have to be thankful that school has provided us a way to keep learning. This opportunity is very valuable since most schools in El Salvador don’t have it.
As a senior, I am looking forward to spending my last school days on campus. I can't wait to see you all, and my hopes are to sing that last “Adios, Muchachos¨ alongside my classmates, even if I have to sing it through my mask! This experience is already one of a kind, but with enthusiasm, we can make that one of a kind, fun and exciting one. This is the year to remember, and the best is yet to come.
-Gianluca Porzio, Executive Council President