CA gives back during global pandemic

April 27, 2020

At Cheshire Academy, we work to instill within our students the importance of selflessness so that they will make an impact in the communities where they live, and in the world at large. Throughout the school year, students are provided countless opportunities to give back, here in the town of Cheshire and in surrounding communities, through volunteer services, clubs, and student-led activities. 


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, members of our community have all returned to their hometowns across 19 states and 31 different countries. There, they are witnessing firsthand the impact the pandemic is having on their families, friends, and neighbors. And they aren’t sitting idly by. Insteadstudentsfaculty, and staff are stepping up, fundraising, and giving back in different ways, whether it’s through supporting a worldwide nonprofit organization, or providing much-needed supplies to a neighborhood food pantry. 


Below are a few of their stories highlighting how members of the CA community are going above and beyond and answering the world’s call for help. 


LaTeX Tutorials 

James Guo ’22 is using his YouTube channel to host a series of videos on the foundation of LaTeX, a high-quality computer typesetting software created for the production of technical and scientific documentation. Guo said he found LaTeX when researching different ways to type his assignments for his math and science courses, and has been learning the system ever since. 

A screenshot of the first LaTeX instructional video on YouTube made by James Guo ’22.

Guo hopes that his series of tutorial videos will help his classmates at CA as they prepare for classes at the university level. He also thinks they will be of interest to students who want to learn something that can enhance what is being taught through CA’s Remote Schooling Plan. 


Since everyone is now at home, I wanted to introduce this series to other students, so that they could have another method to use at home and something new and interesting to learn,” Guo said. “…I have a basic understanding and want to share my knowledge, at this moment, to help other students learn it, as these topics might be useful in college.” 


Guo has two videos on LaTeX so far, including an introduction to the system and how to write groups, brackets, and trigonometry. As for what’s next? He is exploring topics in Greek math-based symbols, individual assessments, and other topics. 


Direct Relief 

A group of five students heard the call to help the community at large during the coronavirus pandemic. They have since created an Instagram page called The MaskCAteers as a source for their fundraising efforts. 


As teenagers being quarantined and constantly seeing people and health workers struggle immensely, we all wanted to really help this cause in any way we could,” Bora Atalay ’22 said. “Being in an environment such as Cheshire Academy encourages us to be active people in society who look forward to making a change.” 


The students were motivated to begin fundraising through GoFundMe, with proceeds raised provided to Direct Reliefa humanitarian aid organization with a mission to improve the health and lives of others affected by poverty or emergencies. Their GoFundMe page is linked on their Instagram page. 


“I read up a little bit on Direct Relief, and their selfless motto … it really stuck out to me in a unique way,” Kavin Kathir ’22 said. “I suggested the organization to the group, and they were on board! We all agreed that no matter where the money went, it was for a great cause.” 


While the five students were the ones who originated the idea, anyone can help, urged Temilade Onile ‘20. 


“Anyone can donate, and all types of donations are accepted,” Onile said. “This is a global problem that needs global solutions. We are just a small way to hopefully make a big change.” 


If the MaskCAteers’ $2,500 goal is reached, Direct Relief will be able to purchase essential medical equipment and critical medications for medical workers during the pandemic. Brothers Luke Parkerson ’20 and Emmett Parkerson ’21 said people can also help by spreading the word about the group’s efforts. 


“By (sharing the GoFundMe page), many people will be able to donate so that the goal can be reached and ultimately get sent to Direct Relief, so everyone can make a positive impact,” Luke Parkerson said. “This will be an efficient way to get the word out and spread awareness about what needs to be done for healthcare workers.” 


Homemade masks 

Director of Counseling Gail Mauthe showcases one of her homemade masks.

Director of Counseling Gail Mauthe P’17 has begun crafting her own homemade masks to shield friends and loved ones to protect them from being afflicted by COVID-19. Mauthe, who also works at a local RV campground, was previously asked by the owner to make 50 face masks for her employees. While she is an avid quilter, Mauthe is not a seamstress, so she searched online for a simple pattern. 


During her creation, Mauthe was met with another problem—a shortage of elastic online. Her daughter previously had a face mask for her asthma, which used a material similar to what is used for shoelaces, and a bead to set the strap’s length. Mauthe bought shoelaces and beads online for the masks, which have since been provided to the employees and members of her family. 


“At a time when my counseling ability is hampered by distance, it is nice to know that I can still reach out and help others,” Mauthe said. “The owners of the campground have done so much for me, and I was so glad to have a way to support them and my coworkers at this time. No one in my family sews, so it was nice that I could be the one to take care of them from afar.” 


Perishable goods 

Realizing good food should not go to waste, members of the Facilities Department and Flik Independent School Dining at CA had to quickly think about what to do with all the food and ingredients in the Gideon Welles Dining Commons. With campus closed for the remainder of the spring semester, Director of Facilities Gary Fox identified the Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries (Waterbury, Connecticut) as recipient for all perishable goods. GWIM is a soup kitchen and food pantry that provides nearly 500,000 meals annually.  


CA staff, including Fox, delivered the food to GWIM on April 20. Donations included eggs, deli meats, a variety of cheeses, yogurt, and a wealth of different fruits and vegetables, including apples, celery, onions, oranges, pineapples, potatoes, and winter squash.