Utica, N.Y. - It's a wave that's going on around the country that doesn't seem to be dying out anytime soon.
It's a wave of teacher parades.
From Indiana to New Mexico, and now to Upstate New York, teachers are going on road trips through their school districts to wave from their car windows to let their students, who have now been forced to study at home for the past two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, know they are not being forgotten.
There were two such parades in our area on Friday. One in the morning in the Little Falls School District and one in the afternoon in the Town of Webb Union Free School District.
In Little Falls, more than 70 teachers and other staff members from Little Falls Middle School gathered in the school's parking lot to decorate their vehicles before hitting the road.
Little Falls Middle School Principal Maria Lindsay says the idea was brought up on Wednesday during a virtual staff meeting online and by Wednesday night more than 60 staff members had signed up to take part in Friday morning's parade.
Deborah Mowers, the librarian at the Little Falls Middle school and High School, was glad to take part, "Because this is such a special place. These are our kids, there really are our kids. We miss them, we love them."
Little Falls Middle School teacher Stacie Luczynski-Perch says this type of action was definitely needed for both students and teachers, "We're hoping to uplift their spirits and keep them positive and let them know we care and we miss them and we love them and we're all in this together."
More than two dozen teachers and staff members in the Town of Webb Union Free School District gathered at the Woodgate Fire Department parking lot on Route 28 Friday afternoon.
Town of Webb Union Free School District Superintendent Rex Germer says this parade, where students and their parents come out to watch the vehicles go by, not only helps the students, teachers and staff members, but it also helps the students' parents, "It’s just tough. Different households prepare differently for this and it’s a tough time for everybody and as a resort community we have a lot of families that are struggling through this, they’ve lost jobs, not having the visitors or the employment that were used to having."
Germer says this parade went nearly 60 miles, from Woodgate all the way up to Raquette Lake, "Town of Webb is a very large school district, 460 some square miles of school district, so we have students from down this way all the way up to Raquette Lake so we’re making sure that we’re interacting with all those families and students."
Town of Webb Union Free School District School Counselor Dana Dornburgh says kids, especially the really young kids, need to know things will get back to normal at some point, and this really helps, "It’s really important for them to see something normal and something normal for them is their teachers looking happy and looking happy to see them. Working with them on the computer and online, it’s not the same. It’s not the same as we see them come in the building in the morning all fresh-faced and happy to go, so we miss that as part of our lives as much as they miss that from their lives."