Jennifer Murzyn, dean for underclasswomen and director of student activities at Mother McAuley High School, and Colleen White, student activities coordinator, have developed an educational game among classes called "Homeroom Classroom Feud," based in part on Family Feud. The interactive educational showdown is held a few times each week at the school.
By Kelly White
In lieu of having large, in-person gatherings like pep assemblies or even just lunch periods, the staff at Mother McAuley High School has continued to think outside the box for fun ways to keep students engaged and building connections and relationships.
Together, Jennifer Murzyn, dean for underclasswomen and director of student activities, and Colleen White, the school's student activities coordinator, have developed an educational game among classes called, "Homeroom Classroom Feud." The interactive educational showdown is held a few times each week at the school at 3737 W. 99 th St. in Chicago.
“ I love seeing the students having fun and it’s open for any student to participate,” said Murzyn, of Chicago. “They are able to connect with one another socially in a new, enjoyable experience for them during this time when we are so limited on what we can offer. I love the competitive aspect it brings while promoting student connectedness and camaraderie with their teachers, peers and homerooms.”
The feuds are held during homeroom, a classroom in which a group of students assembles daily with the same teacher before dispersing to other classes. Students who are in school, and those who are eLearning, can watch live via YouTube.
The competition is made up of 36 homerooms and operates very much like March Madness, through an elimination pool. Two classrooms are called down to the theater stage during homeroom announcements to compete, just like in Family Feud. Five students from each homeroom can be part of the showdown, and all students and educators must wear masks.
“What I like the most about homeroom family feud is how it brings together the girls in each room, especially if we don’t know each other,” said Keira Jarrett, 15, of Evergreen Park.
The competition will take place until the end of the year, and the winning homeroom will receive a surprise treat and may even get a chance to play against some McAuley celebrities.
“I love that the classroom feud allows a nice break from all the hard learning in your day and it allows you some time to have fun and work together with your fellow classmates,” said Caroline Maccander, 16, of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.
The idea about playing a game show at school stemmed from Murzyn, who came up with the idea at the beginning of the school year.
“ Last year I met with my Underclasswomen Student Advisory Board to create a fun, unique event for their class,” Murzyn said. “The pandemic hit and we were never able to execute the plan. Moving into this year has created a number of challenges to provide opportunities for our students to have fun, socialize and step away from academics for a bit. This idea stuck with me since last year and I thought it was the perfect time and one challenge that could be executed given all the restraints. It was a way to unify the entire student body in a fun, competitive way.”
Murzyn shared her idea with White, who was immediately on board.
“ Since I work with Student Activities, I was then able to put the vision into action. I was able to organize the logistics to make this as fun and interactive as possible,” said White, of Orland Park. “It is important that McAuley students experience some fun outside of their academic day. McAuley’s student life and activities is a huge part of their growth and development that they are currently missing. We thought Homeroom Family Feud was a great way for them to just have some fun.”
School officials created a YouTube channel so the game show is live every time Homeroom Classroom Feud is played. Students in the classroom and at home can watch as the homerooms battle it out.
To come up with the questions, all McAuley students were surveyed in August. They were asked them a variety of questions and they submitted their responses. Some of the questions that have been asked are the following: According to a most recent survey, what do you do when you first wake up in the morning? What are things that come in pairs? And, name a throwback TV show that teens love to watch.
The top answers are recorded and White created the game show template based on the questions and answers.
Jeremy Eberhard, orchestra director, is the host of the live competition, and Katie McCasland, technical director, is responsible for live streaming the game show.
“ I love the energy from the contestants,” White said. “They get so into it and are very competitive with each other. I also love some of their answers. Some responses just make us all laugh.”
“Even though times are different this year, I love that family feud helps us stay connected to each other and it is something fun we can do while also being safe,” said Maeve Egan, 15, of Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood.