“We did it to show them how much we care – even from a distance.”
That’s why the principal of Betty Gilbert Middle School Jonathan Harris threw a massive parade along with 150 other staff from four different Aldergrove schools.
All B.C. schools closed indefinitely, March 17, to curb COVID-19 spread during the ongoing pandemic.
On Friday, Parkside and Shortreed elementaries, Betty Gilbert Middle School, and Aldergrove Community Secondary teachers decorated their cars with caring messages of hope.
“Stay strong,” a bright sign on a vehicle read. “I miss you,” another expressed.
It was an hour-long show of teachers in their vehicles that drove from Aldergrove Secondary on 29th Avenue, through neighbourhoods, west onto Station Road, and 32 Avenue.
A normal parade would have lasted just four minutes, Harris explained.
But with the given interconnectedness of the schools it made sense to extend the celebrations community-wide, he said.
There was sign-holding, exchanging greetings, honking, and many waves just after 1 p.m. on April 18.
“It was therapeutic for teachers as much as it was for students,” Harris emphasized.
Shortreed Community Elementary principal Chris Wejr said several of the teachers at his school were brought to tears by the show of support from students and their families.
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Many students spent the morning making colourful “we miss you” signs, or ones with personal messages to their teachers.
Aldergrove mother Jen Middleton said it was “heartwarming,” and “brought so much happiness to my children.”
Another mom, Kelly Cryderman, said it was “just what the kids needed.”
As an Aldergrove community of schools, Harris explained that a heightened focus was placed on “connection, belonging, and care” this school year – before the pandemic caused the schools to close.
Now, as students start to learn in their homes with the guidance of their parents, Harris said the parade was a way of telling their families “we’re walking alongside you in this and we’ll do anything we can to continue to support you.”
A few parents held signs as a tribute to the impressive work of their children’s teachers.
One read, “I don’t know how teachers do it! I need more coffee.”
Another parent humorously communicated on paper: “Save me!”
More photos from the parade can be viewed here.