Guy-Perkins School District elementary teachers loaded up on a school bus Tuesday, making rounds throughout the city to visit with students before the academic year begins.

This year's trip around the neighborhood was the second year local teachers took part in what's becoming a popular tradition in the small town.

"We wanted to reach out to all students in the community to show how much we care," Emily Harris, a second grade teacher, said of the outreach event. "We decided to do this so teachers could have a more personable relationship with their students before the year even started."

As a group of Guy-Perkins educators loaded up on a school bus Tuesday, they ran bus routes and honked their horn to alert students they were passing by. During this event, elementary teachers took time to get to know area students and handed out ice pops.

"Only elementary teachers went on the ride this year, but [we] wanted to hit every house imaginable on all bus routes to meet and greet any and all students of Guy-Perkins ... we even handed popsicles to other students who were outside but attend other school districts nearby because the kids just love seeing a bus full of teachers," Harris said.

This outreach opportunity is a tremendous opportunity for Guy-Perkins educators to form positive relationships with local students before the school year officially kicks off Monday, Aug. 13.

Harris said the bet part of this young tradition is the ability to have such an open, informal way to meet and interact with students.

"As a teacher, the best part is stopping at the houses, blaring the bus horns and just waiting for those faces to poke out of the windows and doors of their houses," she said. "Most students will climb a tree as we are leaving or play with their dogs just because they want us to see their good old county living in such a close community."

Lacey Blair Wilson, a Guy resident and mother of two Guy-Perkins students, said she and her children have grown to love and look forward to this event.

"I love the fact that they do this for the kids," she said. "It always puts huge smiles on their faces."

The Wilson family waited eagerly Tuesday for the Guy-Perkins bus to make its stop at their home.

This initiative shows Thunderbird students are loved and cared for by their educators, Wilson said, adding that it brings peace to mind knowing her children are in good hands while at school during the week.

"It's such a good way to start off the school year. We are truly blessed to have the superintendent, principals, teachers, coaches, secretaries and all the other staff that we have," she said. "Every single one of them have their hearts int he right place. My kids wouldn't ever want to go anywhere else. It['s] things like this they need recognition for."

Harris said she hopes Tuesday's teacher bus ride served its purpose to gear students up for the upcoming academic year, adding that the school staff has a new motto encouraging compassion throughout the district.

"We have a motto this year as a school, #loveyourtbirds and we mean it," she said. "We want these students to know that we are invested and we are all in."