One of the many things affected by pandemic concerns and restrictions on schools is a limitation on volunteers. At Aquin Catholic, the majority of volunteer positions have had to remain vacant, in order to minimize the number of people going in and out of the school. Meredith Lahey is a recent volunteer who has taken on a job still considered essential, helping sanitize the school.

“Whenever they need additional help in the cafeteria, I come for a couple of hours and help clean tables,” said Lahey. “The volunteers in previous years were aging adults, and so with COVID-19, they didn’t feel comfortable coming into the schools. So, this summer, I called Miss (Vicki) Palmer and said that If there was anything I could do to help transition into this new undefined year of 2020, I would just be grateful to help. I have two kids that go to Aquin full-time and another little one over at the daycare, so I just wanted to make sure that it was a good transition for all kids during this whole thing.”

Lahey is no stranger to working with the school.

“I’m also on different committees for Aquin too,” she said. “This is my second year on the Gala Committee, which is our largest fundraiser. It’s really enjoyable, and I’m on the PTA as well.”

While cleaning and sanitizing the cafeteria is nothing new, it has become more thorough and detailed.

“There are just a few more steps to it,” said Lahey. “They always did wipe down the tables. There always was a volunteer who was the lunch lady who would do it, but now it’s more of a three-step process. Kids take up more tables because they’re social distancing in the cafeteria, so there is more work to be done.”

All of Lahey’s volunteer work with Aquin is inspired by wanting to give back to an institution she grew up in and believes in.

“I went to Aquin from kindergarten through eighth grade, so I grew up in the Aquin System and I guess my parents have always given back to Aquin. It’s very special to me, and my parents taught us that if we can give back to things, we should. Volunteering is pretty easy to do, and I work for my family business, so my dad is my boss and just allows me to walk up. I just really enjoy seeing the kids in their element. I think Aquin is a great place for children to go to grade school. You can tell that the teachers enjoy their time with the children, and the kids really enjoy being at school. I enjoy it as a parent to see my kids is this element too. It’s a different time, but I think everyone’s doing what they can to get through.”