The Positives and Negatives of this Year’s Virtual Overnighter

Kadi Donis

Every year, all three Da Vinci schools host Overnighter, an overnight trip for the new incoming Freshman at Camp Pondo, but this year things have changed. This year’s Overnighter was completely different for the new incoming Freshman as it was held virtually for the first time in history at DVC. 

Each year DVC has made overnighter an incredible experience for the new incoming freshman. Lots of upper-classmen apply to be an Overnighter leader which allows the new incoming freshman to feel welcome at DVC and allows the leaders to create a bond with the new freshman. 

Jaylon Jones is a Junior at DVC and was an Overnighter leader for his first time this year. 

“The hardest part was making the 9th graders feel comfortable around us and trying to get them to talk to us and really just participate without being shy,” said Jones. “Definitely, it made bonding with the 9th graders’ way harder because there was no one-on-one connection which limited our ability to build an honest long-lasting connection with the 9th graders.

Baylor University released an article about the struggles of socializing through virtual learning and how it is very tough for many students when it comes to either collaborating with others or working by themselves. Baylor University also mentioned that teens who are socializing through collaboration find it frustrating since it affects their emotional and learning outcomes about their other peers or new topics. 

Yarissa Lopez, a freshman at DVC, was excited to attend the first-ever virtual Overnighter. One of her siblings, who also attend DVC, was also a leader for the Overnighter the past two years. She heard so much about the Overnighter from her sibling and couldn’t wait to see how the virtual overnighter would take place. 

“I met some really great peers as my cabin leaders and got to have some interesting conversations with them. I was happy they were my leaders, because now when we go back to school, there will be a couple more friendly faces I know that I can go to for anything like concerns or just to say ‘hi’,” said Lopez. “I got a pretty welcoming feeling once I got with my cabin, and even with all of the teacher’s introductions, everything felt very welcoming which I didn’t think could happen online.”

According to Edsource, it is really important to create a safe space for students through Zoom. Even breakout rooms provide a safe spot to talk amongst your peers that allows students to speak freely and provides opportunities for peers to understand who these students truly are as a person. One positive outcome that Edsources states is that students praise each other more now through comments on their work or through Zoom’s live chat feature. The Zoom live chat was crucial to the Virtual Overnighter as Yarissa said above that she felt like she made a great connection with her leaders and peers through the chat. If the school eventually decides to go back to school for in-person learning, she will have some familiar faces and people she’s comfortable with to ask for help. 

Andrew Daramola, Assistant Principal at DVC and one of the Main Coordinators of DVC’s Overnighter, noticed that there were some struggles here and there about the virtual Overnighter since lots of additional event planning happened this year. 

“I think doing a virtual anything is tough! Erin and I did last year’s Overnighter, and it’s very different to do one in person,” said Daramola. “The skits, the venue, the atmosphere are very different since we actually go somewhere different.  Erin, the 9th-grade team, and I had to figure out how to still keep the spirit and essence of Overnighter, even though it was virtual.” 

As students remember the good times and the unfortunate bad times of the virtual Overnighter this year, students need to realize that there is always room for improvement. 

“To go through the rough patches with your head held high,” said Jones.” Keep moving forward and greatness will be in your reach.”