Bash through Nash

Elementary holds a drive by parade

Photo by Abby Bunch
Nash Elementary third grade student Hannah Hamel smiles at her family as the teacher parade starts to pass Hannah’s location on April 15, 2020. Nash Elementary teachers coordinated with the city of Nash to produce the teacher parade so that teachers could reconnect with their students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posters waving in the air. Sirens sounding throughout Nash neighborhoods. Smiling children are finally able to see their teachers in person. On April 15, 2020, Nash Elementary School held a drive by parade within their town in order to reach students outside of the classroom–– from a safe distance. 

 “We got the idea for a drive through parade from Facebook and from the news. We want to show the Nash students how much we love and miss them,” second grade Nash teacher Lisa Fuller said. “We’ve been having a lot of [zoom meetings] and Google Meets. We wanted to find a way to bring our community together and bring our kids out to see the teachers.”

Teachers aren’t the only ones going through changes due to the pandemic, children are also finding themselves having to adjust to school life from home. For many students, this was the first time they got to see their teachers in person for over four weeks.

I really liked the parade because the coronavirus makes it where we can’t be around each other and it was actually a good way to see my teachers.”

— Hannah Hamel - third grade student

“I miss my teachers and my friends a lot. My favorite part was being able to see all of the teachers and their decorated cars,” third grader Hannah Hamel said. “I didn’t make a poster because I didn’t have the supplies, so I got creative and held up a heart mirror.”

Teachers from Nash elementary gathered in the school parking lot before their drive through parade. From homemade posters, painted cars, pets, fun costumes and an excited staff, Nash couldn’t be more prepared to see their students. 

“I want to try and see my kids, wave and smile at them, let them know I love them and let them know I miss them terribly,” Nash science and technology teacher Sonya Freeze said. “I’m not happy about this [pandemic] and I’m ready to see everybody. I’m 32 years into teaching, and this is all new to me. If this is the way I need to do it, I’ll borrow my neighbor’s Corvette and go see everybody.”

The Nash parade is the first of its kind to be brought to TISD. As of now, Wake Village is planning to host their own parade for their children and other TISD elementary schools have begun discussing the possibility of bringing a parade to their neighborhoods.

“This has been such a neat opportunity for our teachers to get out. We’re all missing the kids, and we’re all in education for a reason; we want to take care of our students,” superintendent Paul Norton said. “This is such a neat opportunity thanks to Nash and the Nash police department, this is a neat deal for our kids to see our teachers and for our teachers to get out.”

When we pulled into the elementary school parking lot, I smiled ear-to-ear when I saw all of the cars painted and the teachers running around.”

— Paul Norton - TISD Superintendent

While everyone would rather be back at school, the Nash elementary staff was determined to bring a smile to all of their students’ faces. 

“This is important for our students so they know that we haven’t forgotten them and that we love and miss them,” Nash teacher Penny Cole said. “If I was a student, this would put a smile on my face to know that my teachers have gone all out. I want them to know we all miss them and want them to learn. I’m proud that we have the opportunity to [reach] our students outside of school, we’re all ready for everything to go back to normal.”

When you turned the block, it was impossible to not see the smiling children holding their homemade posters proudly in the air. While the kids can’t see their teachers in the classroom, a drive by parade was the next best thing. 

“We planned to drive through the Nash community and say a big hello to our students and send air hugs to them and their families,” Nash teacher Crystal Smith said. “It makes me sad I can’t be with my children, but I hope our students see that we truly miss them and we love them. I hope that this brightens their spirits and they realize we’re all in this together and we want to see them as much as they want to see us.”