Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Eveillard Children Learn Virtually From Coast to Coast

Story by Tamaria Kulemeka

While many parents and students were eager to return to in-person learning after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Marcus and Chanelle Eveillard found a refuge in virtual learning that extended beyond anything they could have imagined. 

The Eveillards—who are accustomed to moving often because of Marcus Sr.’s military service—continue to send their three oldest children, 13-year-old Marcus Jr., 11-year-old Chawn-donna, and 8-year-old Chameron, to New Jersey Conference’s Meadow View Junior Academy in Chesterfield, though they now reside in Plumas Lake, Calif. 

“Ultimately for us, [this] was a pretty easy choice,” says Marcus Sr., who is a staff sergeant in the Air Force, where he has served for 14 years. “We knew California was pretty liberal, so staying with Meadow View aligned with our religious morals and perspectives. Being military, the schedule isn’t fixed and set in stone. At any moment, anything could change, so this afforded flexibility we wouldn’t have [had] otherwise.” 

Prior to moving to California, the family lived in New Jersey on and off since 2016. At one point, they moved to Ohio where Marcus Sr. was stationed briefly. At times, Chanelle, a stay-at-home mom, homeschooled the children. They attended a public school at one point and then went back to church school at Meadow View, where they have attended classes since the early days of COVID-19. When it was time to move again, Chanelle said keeping the kids at Meadow View allowed them to have a smoother transition, especially since they moved while school was in session. Also, while getting acclimated to their new surroundings, the family had to stay in a hotel for several months. The constant stronghold during all of this was that their kids’ education was never interrupted. 

“They were able to sign into classes wherever we were, so they didn’t miss anything, which was a good thing for us,” Chanelle says. “We have great teachers and a principal who are very accommodating and very patient with us … we really appreciate the great support we have gotten from [the school] through it all.” 

Marcus Jr., Chawn-donna and Chameron have mixed reviews about their continuing virtual experience, though each of them has made the best of it. 

“It’s hard to make friends online, but it’s not that bad because you’re still at home and doing school at the same time, so it’s not that hard,” says Chawn-donna, a sixth grader last school year, who at the end of the day still prefers to do school in person. 

For Chameron, a second grader in 2021–22 who loves English Language Arts, the most challenging aspect of virtual school is when the in-person students are doing fun activities he cannot do because he is on the computer. But that does not get him down because there are plenty of advantages like sleeping in late some days and ending the school day much earlier than the other students since he lives in a different time zone. 

“I get to play with my siblings when we have free time, and we play card games and video games,” says Chameron. 

Marcus Jr. would much rather continue virtual classes because he still can connect with his friends in New Jersey, but there is one thing he misses from in-person learning. 

“I feel teaching is a little bit better, and I can be more immersed when I am in the building,” he says, an eighth grader who will continue attending virtual classes at Meadow View in 9th and tenth grades. 

If you ask the youngest Eveillard child, 3-year-old Cameah, what she thinks about all this virtual learning, she will readily tell you it works for her because she is just happy to have her brothers and sister at home with her every day! 

Although they are open to returning their children to in-person learning if the opportunity presents itself, Marcus Sr. and Chanelle say they are content with the education their children are receiving and are grateful to the support they are given from the school, as well as the Browns Mills church—their church home in New Jersey. 

“We acknowledge this is not for everybody, considering it’s very time consuming,” Marcus Sr. says. “You need a parent there to encourage the students. It’s not like when you’re at school and you have the teacher there. It falls on you, but it’s tailored for us, for the lifestyle and all. It’s a blessing!” 

July/August 2022 Visitor:







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