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The schooling may be taking place at home at present, but 'back-to-school' happened at the school

DAVID F. ASHTON - Holding a poster during the car parade is Holy Family Catholic School is student Naomi, who waves to staff members lined up to greet the returning students.It seemed impossible to start the year at Holy Family Catholic School in Eastmoreland without some kind of celebration, even in this time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and even with its classes being "virtual" right now.

That's what the school's Principal, Joe Galati, remarked to THE BEE on Wednesday morning, September 9, outside the school buildings.

"Yes, we are starting our school year with a 'car parade' – with all of our teachers out here to greet our students and their families. Our students get a chance to say hello, to all of us, in person!"

Due to the hazardous, smoky air quality the day before, they'd postponed the parade until that morning – just before the wildfire smoke settled down over Inner Southeast Portland in earnest.

DAVID F. ASHTON - An eighth-grade student leader at Holy Family Catholic School, Kira Caldwell, helps welcome students back to the new - and virtual! - school year. "All of our 22 teachers are eager and excited to begin teaching our 198 students; most of whom are returning to continue their educations with us; we're pleased and proud of that," Galati observed. "We're geared up and ready for comprehensive distance learning; and our teachers have been working hard to create that sense of community, even online."

Also welcoming students back to school, along with other members of her class, was eighth-grade student Kira Caldwell. "I'm looking forward to all the leadership opportunities, like this one, because our eighth graders lead the school. I think it's going to be fun for us, because this gives us new challenges!"

About the process of remote learning at home, she added, "It feels like it's a little harder to learn at home, because I really like to be around my friends when I'm learning. But still, using ZOOM gives us a chance to see our friends while we're doing online classes."

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