Alexia Dukes was a first-year high school English teacher in Gary, Indiana when she met her colleague, and mentor, Maria Rivera. Alexia leaned on Maria’s guidance and support. Maria was drawn to Alexia’s energy and enthusiasm for a great first year. Neither of them anticipated the obstacles that laid ahead. 

In 2020, as COVID-19 began to spread in the US, Alexia and Maria joined their students in the transition to learning from home, but that didn’t stop them from supporting their students and each other. 

A year later, Alexia and Maria sat down for an interview using StoryCorps Connect to reflect on their experience.