It has been officially one year since the nation-wide lockdown in March 2020 due to the spread of Covid-19. This radical change birthed the launch of NGC Virtual. This online environment opened a door to a fresh perspective on education that filtered into our virtual halls. As a result, there were many firsts for us as a college: Virtual Labs, Virtual Parents Day, Virtual Sports Team Activities, and Virtual Morning Assemblies just to name a few. Even parents participated in the Virtual 5K, while other parents sat in on the Virtual Assemblies! A couple of parents also admitted to listening in on a few of the classes and were surprised to have learned quite a lot. Students, Staff, and Parents all adapted together, embracing change and flexibility whilst the College ensured that the values embedded in its foundations remain secure.

Fully operating in an online environment, teachers championed the trial of countless applications and successfully implemented those that were suitable to the students’ needs. New software and applications supplemented previously utilized platforms, such as Google Classroom. Kahoot, JamBoard, Sway, Quizizz, Loom, Nearpod, Wizer, etc, were used to augment class sessions and engage the students. Class time was not only enjoyable but exposed the students to new ways of learning and interfacing with one another. Though the so-called “Zoom fatigue” was a real challenge, the teachers found fun and exciting ways to bring balance to their students’ learning experience with different educational games and exercises. Fun-Fact Friday trivia, held during Friday Morning Assemblies, were always looked forward to by the students as form classes were pitted against each other, fighting for bragging rights to be called the most well-informed class. Fun topics from Song titles to Trinidad and Tobago’s famous locations were quizzed, producing much laughter and cheer as the students and teachers bonded with each other.

What a year it has been! Through all of the challenges, neither the students nor the teachers have cowered under the pressures of the new normal, rather they have all become more resilient and adapted beautifully. As we look forward to the future, we take the learnings and newly acquired skills into the next phase of NorthGate College. Our perspective is “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won”, and we have certainly worked through the challenges and discovered many opportunities that have enhanced our education model.