Olejniczak sticks to a routine

GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. - What is the scientific suffix for every enzyme?

De La Salle Collegiate junior Ed Olejniczak knows. 

The answer was required as he finished a lesson on enzymes and proteins for his International Baccalaureate biology class for teacher Jackie VanThomme. 

The global coronavirus pandemic has created a new world of distance learning, and teachers are using questions like this to ensure students are completing assignments. The questions are called exit tickets. 

Ed Olejniczak works on school work from his family's dining room.

“We don’t submit all assignments to Google Classroom,” Olejniczak said. “The only way the teacher knows you are there is with that question.” 

For Olejniczak, who carries a 4.2 grade-point average, his day at home is similar to a regular school day. 

He and his younger brother, Joe, an eighth-grader at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods, are sticking to a routine each day, waking up by 9 a.m., and eating lunch at a normal time. The brothers work on computers in a common area, or at the dining room table. As much as possible, Olejniczak tries to complete work by 2-2:30 p.m. The exit tickets are due each day by 3 p.m. 

“Biology and Spanish are at a higher level, and that’s been pretty intense,” Olejniczak said. “But it evens out.” 

His other IB classes include English, math, business, and history.

With De La Salle’s Purple and Gold Days schedule -- three 80-minute classes one day, and four the next -- students are able to concentrate on just three or four classes on any given day. Many of their high school counterparts, also in distance-learning situations, are trying to meet the demands of seven classes each day. 

While Olejniczak would prefer to be in school and misses the interaction with his classmates, he thinks the transition has been pretty smooth, with the amount of work similar to what he would have during an in-person school day. 

“It’s been good learning on your own at your own pace with the support of teachers and classmates,” Olejniczak said. 

During the day, he tries to get outside and hit golf balls in the backyard. He is a member of the school’s golf team, and that season, like all spring sports in Michigan, were canceled during the pandemic. 

In addition to keeping up his golf game, Olejniczak and his brother have kept busy playing some basketball, playing with the dog, and working on puzzles. 

Olejniczak also was on the bowling team, serves as a student ambassador, and is active in both the school’s student environmental group and the sportsmen’s club. 

Olejniczak parents, Edmond and Linda, are both working from home Edmond is a De La Salle alumnus from 1991. 

“We’re making it work,” Olejniczak said. 

What is the scientific suffix for every enzyme? It’s -ase. 

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