STEVENSVILLE — On March 25, a staff members from Kent Island Elementary and Bayside Elementary in Stevensville joined forces to create a teacher parade for students on the Kent Island.
Nearly 50 cars, driven by teachers and school staff members, paraded through neighborhoods in Chester and Stevensville. Even a couple of teachers from Stevensville Middle School joined in, said Danielle Lowe, computer/technology teacher at Kent Island Elementary.
They lined up at KIES and proceeded to Mallard Run, then Cloverfields, traveling west and north, then south and east, hitting all the communities along the way and looping back to the school. They went Ellendale, Kirwan’s Landing, Marling Farms, Gibson’s Grant and Bayside — just to name a few.
“It took four hours to get through all the communities,” Lowe said. “I cried. It was so overwhelming.”
The teachers and school staff organized the parade, and the PTA’s from both schools posted it on their respective Facebook pages so families would know to come out of the house and see their teachers.
Students greeted the parade with signs and cheers. The teachers honked their horns and waved to the smiling students.
“… we went all over. It was just amazing. Some of these kids waited out for over an hour,” Lowe said.
Jean Stohlman, third grade teacher at Bayside Elementary School, said she, too, was moved.
“I was driven to tears as I saw the first group of kids standing roadside to yell and cheer us on. There were beautiful signs, smiles, tears, and screams of ‘Thank you!’ and ‘We miss you!’ I spent the first 1 1/2 hours crying,” Stohlman said. “At one point I was simply overwhelmed by the joy and happiness during this horrible time, and the ugly cry came. I continued to wave and cry but was so happy to see students … former, current, and future. I was so happy to see these children. They were happy to see us.
“People without children came out to wave and cheer. As one parent later told me, the parade gave her kids something to look forward to this morning. Words cannot express the range of emotions I felt today.”
Stohlman said it was a day she would never forget and she felt the community came together when it was needed most.
“To see the faces of the students and parents of our school families truly warmed my heart,” Lowe said. “I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions especially every time I heard a tiny voice yell ‘Hi, Mrs. Lowe/Wowe/Lowes … I miss you.’ Thank you all for completely giving my soul exactly what it needed.”
Shortly after schools closed, Lowe started recording a story every night and posting it on Facebook; the PTA shares it on their page.
“I thought it would be nice (for students) to have a familiar face and familiar voice,” Lowe said.
The stories have gained quite a following from students and families — one got over 1,100 views. Check them out on the Kent Island Elementary School PTA Facebook page.