YONA: Looking Back and Looking Forward

YONA: Looking Back and Looking Forward

YONA Quarter Notes | Issue #25 | Fall 2020 Cover Story by Amanda Banister

The month of June is normally a whirlwind of excitement at YONA and is all about celebrating a year of hard work. We usually perform at the Winspear alongside the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, host Community Concerts that show off new learning, enjoy a year-end barbeque, share a slideshow of photos from the year, say our summertime farewell to the students, and gear up for YONA Explorers camp. Needless to say, YONA-Sistema likes to finish off each year with a bang.

With the program now running online, the team was tasked with finding a way to creatively wrap up the year in the digital space. Not surprisingly, our teaching artists leapt into action to create a satisfying closure to this unique year.

All students met in small groups to celebrate their year and reflect on their learning. Classes hosted zoom recitals, celebrations of learning, favourite memory sharing, costume parties, and so much more. Families (both locally and globally), friends, and ESO ambassadors tuned in to cheer our students on and wish them well.

At every online gathering, a beautiful video montage was shared that featured all 115 YONA students showing something that made them feel proud. Edited and produced by our Expressive Arts teacher, Nathaniel Wong, this video was a highlight of our year-end celebrations and truly captures year seven of this amazing program. A program that can rise above whatever hurdles we face, including a global pandemic.

While we don’t know what year eight of the program will exactly look like, we know that our students and staff will rise to whatever challenges come our way. Until then, enjoy your summer, keep smiling, and wash your hands!

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