A look at the content that engaged Eastern Mennonite School audiences throughout 2020 captures a year that some would rather forget. It was also a year that taught us how much we care for each other, how creative and committed we are, how strong we are, and how much we love being together.
Top ten news articles
These articles on our website’s news section were linked on Facebook, referenced in Instagram, and shared via email to parents, alumni and donors. The top 10 in ascending order are:
10. A Prayer in Times of Fear, March 12, 2020, written by Carmen Schrock-Hurst, class of ‘76, for Eastern Mennonite Seminary and shared with EMS in the early days of COVID-19, with 335 views.
9. EMS Launches New Racial Equity Working Group, June 23, 2020, with 395 views.
8. EMS to Stage Les Misérables, COVID-style, Oct. 2, 2020, with 406 views.
7. Eight New Faculty Members join Eastern Mennonite School, August 24, 2020, with 415 views.
6. An Open Letter: To EMS Athletes from Andrew Gascho, March 26, 2020. Athletic director and girls varsity soccer coach, Andrew Gascho, shared reflections and encouragement in the early days of lost sports seasons, with 417 views.
5. EMS Launches New Year with COVID Precautions, August 28, 2020, with 426 views.
4. EMS to Install Largest Solar Power System at any K-12 School in Harrisonburg, July 7, 2020, with 483 views. A subsequent post on Oct. 14, reported on the barn raising-style installation of 357 panels with volunteer labor on Oct. 10, a story covered by various media outlets and picked up through the Associated Press as far away as Texas.
3. New Members Bring Diversity to EMS Board of Directors, July 23, 2020, with 525 views.
2. Remembering Timothy Bergey Brenneman, Long-time Chemistry and Physics Teacher, March 1, 2020, with 787 views.
1. EMS Plan for 2020-21 School Year: Every Student, Every Day, July 2, 2020, with 990 views.
Top Facebook posts
Our top 10 Facebook post “reaches” (the number of times the content entered a viewer’s screen).
10. The Booster Club’s invitation to purchase homemade soup and bread to celebrate fall athletes and raise funds for the athletics program at EMS on Oct. 30, 2020 reached 2,258 people. The supportive crowd donated $3,707.75.
9. A post of images celebrating the completion of the fall semester with in-person schooling, Covid-free, on Dec.3, 2020, reached 2,501.
8. Aviwe Mahlong ‘20 signed a letter of intent to play basketball with Millersville (Pa.) University April 18, 2020. He was offered a full-ride scholarship. 2,580 saw the post. Read the news blog posting here.
7. Graduation rehearsal from cars in the parking lot and a senior parade launched celebrations for the 39 seniors of EMHS class of 2020. The June 5, 2020, post reached 2,587 people. It was followed soon after by a post about our outdoor graduation ceremony on June 13 with 2,738 people reached. See coverage here.
6. Despite COVID, the fifth grade class planned and helped to build a fort for the elementary peace path and playground. A June 30, 2020 post about finishing the project over the summer reached 2,772 people. See news coverage here.
5. An August 25 post about the first day of school with COVID procedures in place reached 2,835 people.
4. A post about Nicholas Boshart, class of ‘12, selling home sewn face masks, April 7, 2020 reached 2,859 people. He was early to get on the COVID mask bandwagon!
3. In the weeks before many of us had ever heard of COVID, our Flames Varsity Boys Basketball team won the Virginia Independent Conference championship for the first time since 1994! Alumni engagement — especially from former players of the early 90s — was high on the February 22, 2020, post with 3,827 people reached.
2. When tickets went on sale Oct. 19 for Les Misérables School Edition on our outdoor stage 2,888 people were reached with post as interest was high! On Oct. 30, 3,834 people were reached with a post about opening night. See coverage, photo gallery and link to watch on demand here.
And, in a league of its own, all time high post for the year (maybe forever?): Curt Stutzman, English, Bible and humanities teacher, passed the 1,000 mile mark on his Onewheel Pint> He started using it in January 2020 for his commute to school from his home on Fort Lynne Road, 2.2 away. The November 10, 2020 post reached 10,213 people, perhaps in part due to the 15 shares, including one to a Onewheel Facebook page. Read the news blog posting here.
Top Video of the Year
Our most watched video on both Facebook and YouTube of 2020 was the March 31 post of EMS’s virtual choir, coordinated by Jared Stutzman, choir director, with student, alumni, faculty and staff singing John Bell’s Don’t Be Afraid. An April 19 news article reported about 30,000 views between the two platforms. The YouTube views climbed from 6,000 to more than 10,000 by the end of the year and the Facebook post climbed to nearly 29,000. Read an article.