Skip to main content

During Times of Uncertainty NHA Demonstrates Moral Focus Virtues

Kelsey Pardue  |  April 10, 2020

Exceptional character has been embodied by National Heritage Academies (NHA) students and staff, even in the midst of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. NHA is passionate about developing the whole student, heart and character included. This includes infusing Moral Focus virtues like gratitude, compassion, and perseverance into their education.

Throughout these uncertain times, countless individuals have stepped up to provide for those in need.

During these unprecedented times, the demand for face masks increased, which led Canton Charter Academy social worker, Jenna Copenhaver, and her mom to sew masks and donate them to hospitals. They used a special template to ensure that they are the correct size and had the right number of ironed pleats. 


Meeting the needs and demands of healthcare workers was also on the hearts of staff at Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy.

Plymouth Scholars donated 100 bottles of hand sanitizer to Harper Hospital. “Our community needs help,” said Sabrina Terenzi, principal at Plymouth Scholars. “Hospitals are low on supplies and those supplies are essential for the medical workers' health. Since we have these supplies, it felt right to donate them.”

Terenzi shared that they are happy to help the medical workers in any way they can. “We are demonstrating compassion for those that are going above and beyond for the patients in their facilities.”

Not only is staff giving back, but students are as well. After earning $100 for jumping in a pool of icy water, Amaya, a student at Plymouth Scholars, decided to use half of her money to buy school supplies for children who may not have them at home. She and her sister, Arya, also a Plymouth Scholars student, made academic “goodie bags”. These bags were filled with pencils, erasers, paper, and more.

Supporting students is a consistent theme amongst NHA schools. At Pembroke Academy, staff came together to boost the emotional morale of students. A photo collage was sent to students of teachers holding up various signs that read, “Stay safe, stay healthy, and always remember that we are Pioneers who will always persevere.”

Salwa Kinsey, assistant principal at Pembroke, shared that this collage ties with quite a few of our Moral Focus virtues, such as respect, encouragement, and compassion, but one virtue in particular that they really wanted their families to connect with during this time, perseverance. 

“As long as we have each other as one united team and Pembroke family, we can get through anything,” said Kinsey. “We also know that this transition can be a challenge, but when we put our minds to it and persevere, we can get through any challenge that comes out way. Pembroke Pioneers will always work together to uplift, encourage, and ultimately display consistent perseverance!”

Pembroke isn’t the only NHA school displaying perseverance. Ninfa Mazzola, dean at Westfield Charter Academy, was at home watching the news and listening to the stories about the front-line workers and thought, “How can we give back and help them?”  

She created a flier and sent it to all Westfield employees because she wanted to find a way they could give back to the nurses and doctors working with the patients in the Detroit area hospitals suffering from the COVID-19 virus. 

“I think that when times are tough people need to step up and help out any way you can,” shared Mazzola. “There's not much we can do right now, but it was our way of showing the medical professionals that we're thinking of them and thanking them for their hard work!”

Mazzola was overwhelmed with the immediate response from the Westfield staff. On April 3, they were able to send lunch to the ICU unit at DMC-Harper Hospital to let them know they were thinking of them and to show gratitude for all they are doing! Mazzola’s sister is one of the nurses working at Harper Hospital.

“I was so proud of my Westfield family and I can't wait for us to feed another group of nurses and doctors next week at a different Detroit hospital,” shared Mazzola.

By feeding the front lines, Westfield showed gratitude to workers for their hard work, compassion by caring about them, however, for Mazzola, the virtue of perseverance resonates most during these difficult times.

“Strength and persistence keep you going in times like these. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” said Mazzola.

Great work, NHA scholars and staff!