St. Joseph Elementary School held a drive-thru parade so students could safely see their teachers during the pandemic.

Parents drove their kids around the elementary school while teachers waved as they stood by the street.

“We loved the concept that the kids and families were in the parade and we were the bystanders. The kids and their families are truly the rock stars through all of this,” St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney Pope said.

The parade was scheduled from 6-7 p.m., and there was a steady stream of cars for at least 45 minutes. Even though the parade was at the elementary school, both middle school and elementary school students participated in the parade.

The teachers could tell that the students enjoyed the drive-thru parade. Many students even had posters with their teachers’ names on them taped to their parents’ cars during the parade.

“From the looks on their faces, I would say they definitely enjoyed [the parade]. You could see their faces light up and hear them say, ‘There’s my teacher!’,” St. Joseph’s Kindergarten teacher Charlotte Moix said.

Online classes were difficult for many of the students.

“[The students] worship together and go to school together, so they are used to being around their classmates all the time. It was truly devastating for them to lose that social and emotional connection,” Pope said.

Moix said her students have missed being in the classroom.

“My students really missed being in the classroom [and] seeing and interacting with their classmates and me every day,” Moix said.

To bring some normalcy to her online classes, Moix would let her students talk to each other right before their online classes started, but it still was not the same as seeing everyone in person.

Online classes were difficult for the teachers as well.

“We’re used to seeing our [students and their] families every day. Schools are so much more than education; they are truly communities,” Pope said.

The teachers missed their students, so they enjoyed seeing them during the drive-thru parade.

“It was great seeing the students’ smiling faces. It really did this teacher’s heart good and was a nice way to ‘end’ the year,” Moix said.

The last day of the school year at St. Joseph was Thursday.

“We felt like the kids needed some kind of closure,” Pope said, so St. Joseph’s set the parade date on the last day of school to provide closure for students.

It is possible that there will be more events like this in the future at St. Joseph Elementary School.

“Looking forward, if we have to do more social distance learning, we’ll look for a way for [students] to connect,” Pope said.

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