New Mexico Students Send Videos To Isolated Seniors


SANTA FE — New Mexico students have created almost 90 video greetings to cheer people in isolation during the holiday season through a partnership between the Public Education Department and Hobbs High School.

Students from elementary through high school contributed videos in both English and Spanish to the project. They are often joined by teachers, parents and school staff as they sing holiday songs, read stories and perform quick little dances.

All are heartfelt. Some are hilarious.

“It’s real, not edited, and sometimes the kids are messing up. That’s what makes them so endearing,” said Zach Chavez, project lead at the Public Education Department, which helped promote the project with New Mexico teachers and will share the video greetings with nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the state.

“We are thrilled to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response from students,” said Katie Avery, the Public Education Department’s director of strategic outreach. “Now more than ever, we need these expressions of care to help lift the spirits of our communities.”

Hobbs English teachers Alex Salazar, Brooke Richardson and Kristopher Otto came up with the idea as a service project for their students and, through PED, invited teachers throughout New Mexico to participate by having students record a video greeting on a phone, computer or tablet and upload it to a video application common to many educators.

“We are so grateful for the leadership and vision of these educators and the service orientation of our students in spreading a little holiday joy across our state,” Avery said.

Otto said the videos gave students, teachers and staff a much-needed social-emotional outlet after long isolation due to the pandemic.

“During a time that’s been so hard on students and so hard on teachers, it warms my heart to see them singing, happy and smiling,” Otto said.

There’s still time to participate: The deadline for uploading a video is Friday, Dec. 18. Detailed instructions on how to participate are available on the Educator Portal on the PED website.

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