'We miss you!' Elementary school in Thunder Bay reaches out to students with drive-by parade
'We thought the best way to reach out to our kids is to drive by, give them a wave,' says principal
Handpainted signs, reading "Miss you!," adorned the side of one of about 30 vehicles gathered in the parking lot at Algonquin Avenue Public School in Thunder Bay on Thursday afternoon.
Appropriately, a super-sized teddy bear was holding the message, which came straight from the hearts of the teachers and staff at the elementary school in the northwestern Ontario city. Like all other schools in Ontario, Algonquin has been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The group delivered that message to their students, and their families with a drive-by parade through the neighbourhoods served by the school.
"We miss them a lot, and I think about them everyday," said native language teacher Corine Bannon, from inside her white truck, festooned with balloons and a colourful sign stating "Brighter Days Ahead."
The event was organized by principal Kali Bernst, who sent out an email simply suggesting "this is where we're going to meet and decorate your cars and be as silly and as crazy as you can and make our kids happy."
She said her staff wanted some way to reach out and show the kids that even though they can't be together in the classroom right now, they're still connected to each other.
"Right now, we're in a really tricky time and we just thought the best way to reach out to our kids is to be able to drive by, and give them a wave " she said.
Bernst also sent out an email to parents, letting them know about the parade and to make sure their kids were at their windows, or out on their lawns so they could have a front-row seat.
"We've got such great relationships at our school and with our families and we really wanted to make sure they knew we were thinking of them."