This isn’t the first time that enterprising former Boca Raton High School student Luke Lynch has been at the forefront of a local movement.
Lynch, along with current Boca High teacher Jordan Hernandez, has been involved in community outreach projects for years. First, the current American University student founded the TREE Club while he was attending Boca High to get students involved with environmental reform. We got word of the club’s efforts a few months ago and shared its story in a feature we called “Turning Boca Green” back in our March issue. Now, he’s starting yet another movement rooted in positive change. This one just happens to hit particularly close to home for all of us who are self-isolating in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Though Lynch graduated from Boca High last spring and now attends American University in Washington, D.C., he’s stayed connected with community outreach projects in Boca Raton. When the coronavirus crisis arose and ultimately forced the closure of local schools, he and Hernandez hatched an idea together to enrich the lives of students toiling in isolation: the #CoronaCant movement.
“We initially thought of the idea [in late March,]” Lynch told us. “Jordan and I initially put our heads together and thought of the idea and got a few students involved from a couple of the clubs on campus, and then we created our first #CoronaCant video, which is a compilation of students expressing that coronavirus can’t stop them from growing and staying connected during this time.”
“Luke and I were receiving a lot of messages from parents and students who were feeling disconnected, who were feeling out of sorts,” Hernandez added. “I had one particular student who is very engaged and social who said he went into a severe funk, and so Luke and I were like ‘man, we really need to do something here. Let’s do some interactive stuff.’
“Our goal is to have people in our community, in our own backyard in Boca Raton, feel connected and engaged and empowered during the strange season that we’re in. The goal is to have as many people feel connected and engaged and empowered as possible and to spread the word. It’s a ripple effect.”
The #CoronaCant movement, which began with a video that showed students staying active and staying positive while still exercising social distancing, was noticed and shared on social media by the City of Boca Raton, where it quickly began to take hold.
“The City of Boca reposted our promo video, kinda emphasizing to the community at large what the students of Boca Raton are doing, that they’re not letting this stop them,” Lynch shared. “That happened last week, and now the movement is picking up more traction, and engaging students not just at the Boca High level, where it initially started, but it’s extending itself to Spanish River and to a few other areas in our county. Not to mention our city council members, such as Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke, who’s been a proud supporter and is really helping to spread awareness through the local government.
“The movement is starting very strong at home, and now we’re having people understand this movement from afar, which is to say ‘Corona Can’t stop me from being who I want to be in this time.’ We want people to take advantage of that and provide them with a mentality that they can take and run with for themselves.”
In a situation where high school seniors are disproportionately feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis in relation to their underclassmen peers, Lynch hopes that the #CoronaCant movement can help them to regain some of the joy of their senior year.
“The seniors especially are starting to feel empowered,” Lynch says. “Notably, our Mr. and Ms. Boca High are going be leading this Boca High engagement through our online forum, through the #CoronaCant banner, as a way to instill that [their] senior year is not over, [their] junior year is not over. If you can tune into our message and believe in what we’re saying, even from afar, you can still feel it and laugh and really feel a sense of shared Bobcat commonality.”
Lynch and Hernandez intend to continue creating content under the #CoronaCant banner, from videos with different schools to challenges like virtual cook-offs between students and teachers.
If you ask either of its founders, they’ll tell you that the #CoronaCant movement is just getting started, and its rapid spread throughout our community and beyond seems to validate that point.
“It started at Boca High, and now it’s at Spanish River, and we have a few other schools who have reached out that are doing videos,” Hernandez said. “I had a school from Seattle that follows one of our club accounts, and they said they would do the #CoronaCant video. They’re working on it. So we’re just getting everything in order right now in Boca Raton and in Palm Beach. I think soon enough, within a week or so maybe, you’re gonna start seeing videos from all over.
“We want to make it entertaining, we want to make it meaningful, and we want to allow students and schools wherever they are, whether they’re in Boca or in Brazil or Canada, we want them to be able to see this and join in the movement from their own community.”
To get involved with the #CoronaCant movement, visit the website and social media accounts linked below: