Frisco ISD student-athletes had their spring seasons cut short, and in some cases, nearly wiped out by the COVID-19. But the disappointment those student-athletes felt didn’t keep them from realizing the even greater effects that the global pandemic can have on others in their community.
That’s one reason Heritage High School tennis players and Lebanon Trail High School soccer players started writing letters to the residents at the Parkview in Frisco retirement community.
“During this time of concern, many people just need some encouraging words or some jokes to show them that we are here to support one another,” said Heritage sophomore Pranitha Emani. “I also wanted to make them feel happy and hopefully brighten up their day.”
Because of their age, the residents of Parkview are at higher risk for severe illness related to COVID-19. The community now has visitation restrictions, which helps protect the residents but also makes it more difficult for them to socialize. The encouraging messages from the FISD student-athletes, which are distributed to the residents by the Parkview staff, let the residents know others are thinking about them.
“It’s at times like these that it is most important that we pitch in and do our part in supporting our community,” said Lebanon Trail junior Maggie McGrath. “Because of everything going on right now, I felt it was important that we took five or 10 minutes out of our day to support our community and make a positive contribution.”
Lebanon Trail girls soccer players have also written letters to first responders and collected food for Frisco Family Services. That has helped ease the season-ending pain for a team that had clinched a playoff berth and was ranked among the best in the Dallas area.
“It honestly made me feel great,” said sophomore Miranda Kurtz. “I've kind of been struggling with feelings of pointlessness during this time, so to be able to do something for a cause that is much larger than myself was really invigorating and gave me a sense of purpose again.”
Anjana Bhat got the same feeling from sending the letters to Parkview. The Heritage freshman sent jokes and motivational quotes to the residents.
“I was really glad to be able to do something like this for our senior community during the lockdown because they deserve all the love and support in the world,” she said. “Sending positive messages to the Parkview residents really made my day more meaningful.”
Concerns about COVID-19 have led Parkview residents to eat their meals in their rooms instead of as a group. The staff has been printing out messages from the student-athletes and others in the community and attaching them to the meals they deliver to residents’ rooms.
Some messages are funny, others are inspirational, and all are appreciated.
“It made me smile just to write down some funny things that were happening to me,” said Heritage junior Sydney Pierce. “Hopefully it made them smile as well.”
“It made me feel great knowing that what I did contributed to someone’s well-being,” said Heritage sophomore Shree Kodavatiganti. “I think sending a note or letter is almost as good as being a doctor because it improves people’s mental health and makes them feel much better.”