West Columbia, SC - Wearing a panda onesie, and playing upbeat music from a speaker, East Point Academy P.E.Coach, Elease Anderson, surprises students from a safe distance on their birthdays. One such student was 10-year old Lilly Wilson, “I was so surprised to see Coach Anderson!...When she started dancing I could not stop laughing! I loved it so much!”. Lilly’s mom, Katie, was grateful for the visit as she was struggling to make the day special. “Turning 10 is a pretty big deal...COVID-19 took the ability to have a birthday party with friends, but Coach Anderson to the rescue!..she is an amazing person with a heart of gold for these children.” Kayela Greene was also feeling helpless amidst her daughter’s birthday disappointment. At 5 years old, it was difficult for Lilo to understand why everything was cancelled. “She was very upset...Coach Anderson came to sing to Lilo from the street in front of our house. Lilo was so excited; her visit absolutely made her day” Greene recounted.
Due to the closure of school buildings, East Point Academy has been E-Learning since March 13th. One-to-one devices made the logistics easy, but teachers and students alike are feeling the sadness of physical separation. East Point Academy is a public charter school and close-knit community often referred to as the “panda family.” Coach Anderson plans to continue the surprises throughout the pandemic saying “I love my students and I miss them. Anything I can do to make their time away from school better-I’m willing and able.”
In addition to socially distanced birthday visits, Coach Anderson and the entire East Point Academy staff have been calling and Google Meeting students on their special days. It is a small thing in the midst of a pandemic, but one that aligns with East Point Academy’s guiding motto “Be Nice. Work Hard.” Assistant Principal of Elementary, Ashley Cohoon summed it up saying “Coach Anderson consistently goes above and beyond for students, as does all our staff. During this time of uncertainty, our hard-working teachers have tried to maintain a feeling of normalcy. I’m so proud every day of how our teachers always take the time to make students feel special."
East Point Academy is a highly rated Mandarin Immersion free Public Charter School that provides rigorous academics with a global focus to students from four-year-old kindergarten to eighth grade. It was named the “Best” Charter School by the State Newspaper, “Best” Private or Charter School in Columbia by the Free Times. East Point Academy is currently accepting applications for the 2020/2021 school year. To learn more, visit www.eastpointsc.org.