They performed concerts, gave to families in need and even put on a show.

Though nearly every classroom at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie has been empty since Gov. Kate Brown closed school grounds nearly a year ago, La Salle’s 660 students have created new ways to connect during the pandemic.

In October, they hosted an outdoor carnival for kids. In November, they played a game of tag by planting “YOU’RE IT!” signs in each other’s yards. For a few hours in December, small groups of students came to campus to decorate the school for the holidays.

“It’s exciting,” said sophomore Madeline Obuchowski from behind her mask during her December visit. “We get to see people for the first time in a long time.”

La Salle also came up with new ways to continue traditions despite the pandemic.

For example, instead of pooling money to buy gifts for families in need, students and staff bought gifts themselves for the Christmas drive. Instead of giving holiday concerts in person, the school’s bands and choir performed online by blending recordings of each person performing.

And instead of staging the fall play in the theater, the drama department developed a digital way to share the show, Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.” The actors practiced scenes via Zoom, the crew filmed the scenes, and the directors turned the scenes into a video shown in the parking lot to people in their cars.

Lasallians have even found ways to worship together during the pandemic. Every school day, a student leads a prayer shared via social media. Occasionally, the school livestreams Mass from its chapel. 

“No matter where we are,” said senior Anthony Nguyen, “we are joined together in the holy presence of God."