On Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds mandated that Iowa schools remain closed until April 30th, due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in our state. I know that many young children had anxiously been waiting for the initial 4-week school closure recommendation to end, so they could get back to school around April 13th to see their teachers and their friends.
Knowing how hard that announcement was for them, and the sadness and uncertainty it brought to all of us. The following day, Friday, April 3rd, the NFV Elementary teachers and staff joined together and formed a Teacher Parade. The turnout was truly incredible! I was fortunate to be able to participate in that special parade. Everyone met at the NFV High School parking lot. Some vehicles displayed signs with messages for their students.
The timing for this parade was perfect, but unfortunately the weather was not. The morning was dark, dreary, cold and wet. But the growing lineup of vehicles and the anticipation of what was coming brought a smile to my face and a great feeling of excitement, community, and hope. The parade started at 10:30, and so did a light cold rain.
A fire truck led the parade, with red lights flashing and sirens blaring to let the children and families know that the parade was coming. As we turned the first corner, looking ahead I saw families on both sides of the street, anxiously awaiting our arrival. Some children were holding signs with messages of “Hello”, “I Miss You” and “I Love You” for their teachers. As I looked behind me, I saw the long parade of vehicles, many of which were still waiting in the parking lot to start moving. The Teacher Parade traveled a predetermined route from one end of West Union to the other, routed to reach as many children as possible.
Mother Nature decided to pour cold rain down on us, but the kids and families were out in force. When the rain came down harder, the umbrellas went up. Children with their parents stayed out in the cold rain, huddled under their umbrellas, sheltered in cars and standing in open doorways waiting for their beloved teacher to drive by so they could see them, wave “Hello” and show their love and support!
It was a very moving experience that touched my heart on so many levels during these really rough days! And even though Mother Nature decided to rain on our parade, the sunshine of faith, hope, caring, gratitude and reassurance still shone down on all of us. This Teacher Parade showed children in a big way that their teachers care about them, and that we will all get through this together!
Author: Vicki Starks, Fayette County Food& Fitness F2ECE Associate