Franklin Township’s Patrick Denney, like many Southside high school seniors, wanted to make his senior year one to remember.
At Scecina Memorial High School, Patrick sought to experience everything he could. So, he played his final season for the Crusaders’ football and basketball teams. The 6-3 student-athlete actor was preparing for his final baseball season under former Center Grove coach Dave Gandolph and rehearsing for the male lead in SMHS’ spring musical, “Newsies,” that was postponed indefinitely from March 20-21. Spring break, prom and graduation ceremonies were around the corner.
“Kind of a let-down,” he said last week. “I was looking forward to all those events. It’s a bummer, but I know I’m not the only one.”
With schools closed until May 1, Patrick, his five brothers and a sister have been at home since March 13.
They are the children of Todd and Shannon Denney, who live in the far northwest-side of Franklin Township. Todd is an account executive for Brehob Corp., 1334 S. Meridian St. Shannon is the lead pre-kindergarten teacher and second- and third-grade teacher at Lumen Christi Catholic School.
She spent most of last week working on lesson plans for her students while at home. She has been juggling home tasks and meals at home, where Todd also enjoys cooking meals. When the weather breaks, they can get outside for yard work.
“Everyone has things to do at home,” she said. “Oldest to youngest always have had certain chores to do.”
Daughter Sophia observed her 13th birthday Thursday, but only with dad, mom and her siblings. Grandparents dropped off birthday cupcakes for her but did not go inside the home. Each weekday is not exactly structured.
Eldest son, Joshua, 22, a senior at IUPUI, studies daily. He had planned on doing research for a college paper at the Indiana History Center archives but is doing his research online at home. With Marian University closed, son Max, 20, a sophomore, is home for the rest of the semester. Joshua and Max also work at Edwards Drive-In, 2126 S. Sherman Drive. The two older boys, Patrick, and Jack, 16, a Scecina sophomore, have gone to a nearby elementary school baseball field to play with their younger brothers, Nolan, 11, and A.J., 8, who were looking forward to a new season at Edgewood Little League. Patrick also works part-time at Kroger’s, 5350 E. Thompson Road.
Jack was looking forward to playing lacrosse which is canceled. The two youngest boys are students at Lumen Christi. Patrick and Jack must log in online at Scecina by 10 a.m. to be counted as “present” weekdays so they can obtain assignments and work on at home on their laptops.
“That (schoolwork) takes up about three-to four-hours,” Patrick said. “Then we have things to do inside. We have gone outside to play basketball. The other day, we went out and walked around the neighborhood.”
The two youngest boys have plenty of toys, especially Legos, to play; their video-game time is limited.
Sophia is doing a lot of journaling, so that several years from now, she will have a personal record of these days that have altered lives dramatically. She is reading books on a Kindle, one of her birthday presents. Shannon makes sure they are working on their lessons.
“It’s so important that they stay up with their schoolwork,” Shannon said. “We’re coping, but we are very fortunate. We are together, we are healthy, and we have our faith.”
Shannon took Nolan to Mass at Holy Rosary at 7:30 a.m., March 17, not knowing that it would be the final Mass before restrictions due to COVID-19. They are streaming Mass at home. Prayers are said daily by each member of the Denney family, fostering peace of mind under abnormal circumstances.