Merici College students Georgia Willshire and Ruby Horn with Principal Loretta Wholley who has been making TikToks with students to boost morale.

Boosting student morale amid a global pandemic came naturally to Merici College Principal Loretta Wholley; and all she had to do was download popular social media app TikTok.

The video-sharing app had become popular with students at the college during the lockdown period, some of whom were still attending the school which remained opened.

“A group of girls had come up to me and asked me to do a TikTok with them and I didn’t really know anything about the app at that point,” Ms Wholley said.

“I downloaded it and wasted several hours of my life, but to be honest I thought a lot of the content was quite funny.”

The principal said like most, many of the students had struggled with the lack of normality during the lockdown and had kept attending school to maintain their routine.

After spending time on the app, Ms Wholley thought it was time to reach out to the students to temporarily take their minds of world events.

“I thought a lot of things like families dancing on the app were fun and light-hearted and I thought, why don’t I do a TikTok,” she said.  

“I asked two senior girls to show me how it worked, and we had a chat about what was and wasn’t appropriate and decided to make a video together.

“Of course, once other students saw that, I ended up doing about six across the different year groups.”

Ms Wholley said interacting with students in this way offered an opportunity to have an open conversation about social media.

“I thought that was a really important thing to do at that time. They were missing each other as friends and missing routine,” she said.

“It was good to talk about how social media isn’t all evil and I felt like we could role model how to do it in a positive way.

“We would talk about how one dance was a bit too silly, or there was a swear word in a song and what’s appropriate on social media.”

While the school remained open on a non-compulsory basis, students could work from the campus or at home on the timetable provided.

They returned to school on 2 June and Ms Wholley said they were looking forward to school holidays which start this Friday 3 July.

“I think next term will be when things return to normal. I have to admit everyone is really tired,” she said. 

“We had planned to be remote learning for the whole term; to have to switch back and expect everyone to adjust was really tough.” 

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