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Parade brings cheers, tears

The bright sunshine was no competition for the bright smiles of teachers and students at Banks Schools on Thursday.

The Pike County Schools have been closed for nearly two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic and the teachers at Banks School have been missing the smiling faces of their “children.”

“Banks Schools are rural so we haven’t had opportunities to see our children since school has been out,” said Robin Schuster, Banks Primary teacher. “We miss them and, because we are family at Banks, we believe they miss us, too.”

So, via social media, the teachers brainstormed ideas as to how they could connect with their kids and keep social distance at the same time.

Several ideas were considered before they all agreed, “Why not a parade?”

The idea was for the teachers at both campuses to decorate their cars with happy things.

“Banners, signs, pinwheels, balloons,” Schuster said. “Anything happy, bright and colorful. Signs and anything that said, ‘We miss you!’”

Laura Hixon said teachers contacted parents through Facebook, Instagram School Messenger and a variety of other apps to invite them to be participants in the parades on both campuses on Thursday, March26.

“Most of us also keep in touch with the parents of our children individually,” Hixon said. “The parents were excited because they said their children missed us just that much, too.”

The idea for the parade was for the parents to drive their children along the teacher-decorated school driveways. The teachers would greet the children with smiles, waves and banners and blown kisses. The children would remain in their cars to acknowledge their teachers in their own special ways.

And it worked just as planned. With one exception, more than a few misty teachers’ eyes.

“It’s hard not to be misty-eyed,” said Laura Ellis. “We are family here at Banks. We love the kids and really and truly miss them.”

The kids’ were, of course, the grand marshals of the parade. They waved, smiled and, some of the girls returned the blown kisses. The grand marshals brought along favorite dolls, a puppy or two and a baby brother or sister to be a part of the parade. The biggest smiles were saved for their classroom teachers.”

The smiles spread from ear to ear when a parade grand marshal spotted his or her teacher.

“I wish we could have hugged them all,” said Voncile Flowers.

Hopefully, the day will come soon when it’s school as usual, said Shantell Rouse, Banks School principal.

“It was so good for the children to see their teachers’ faces,” Rouse said. “We miss the children and they miss us. As teachers, we have shed more than a few tears. We don’t know what lies ahead. There is the possibility that school will not re-open this year. But, if so, we will move forward with on-line learning. And, if we have to play catchup, we will. We will do whatever we have to do, to make sure our children get caught up. We are sure that we will be able to meet any challenges before us.

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