Students Cheer Their Teachers — and Teachers Cheer Up Their Students — With Heartwarming Teacher Parades (at a Distance, of Course!)

Julie Sorrells Sides/Facebook

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories and random acts of kindness found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74Million.org/series/inspiring.

It’s hard to say who thought of it first, but educators from coast to coast have set out to put a smile on their students’ faces — at a safe social distance, of course — with increasingly popular teacher parades. 

Long lines of cars snaking through housing subdivisions, rural roads and even city streets have rarely been such a welcome sight. But across the country, children and families have rushed out to greet parades of teachers and share the photos and video on social media.

Third-grade teacher Julie Sorrells Sides of Eastside Elementary School in Rockmart, Georgia, won the internet with the above photo of an extended family lined up to welcome her and the other teachers. It’s hard to say what’s cuter: grandad’s suspenders, or what the littlest child is holding in her hands. (We think that’s a chicken she brought out to the parade.)

In North Carolina, students from Henderson County Public Schools were hungry to see their teacher, and she to see them, as she and her family drove by. 

Students and parents from Arbolita Visual and Performing Arts Academy in La Habra, California, decorated signs, flew balloons and popped confetti when the teachers from their arts magnet school drove through the neighborhood to wave hello after weeks of virtual meetings.

In Wharton, New Jersey, a real-life traffic jam was a welcome sight when the teachers from Catherine A. Dwyer Elementary drove around local neighborhoods for two hours, waving to the students they have seen only by videoconference for the past few weeks.

Children in Exeter, California, got lots of love from their teachers during the Rocky Hill Elementary School teacher parade. 

A lot of organization and preparation went into these parades. Teachers from Hobby Elementary School in Houston, Texas, put finishing touches on their cars before they set out.

Last year, Beth Nathanson was teacher of the year in Chesterfield County, Virginia. This year, she was the woman of the hour when her fifth-graders at Bon Air Elementary School came out to salute her when she came parading through their neighborhood. 

Davenport Community Schools in Iowa got in on the parade action, too. One photo from the school’s Facebook page sums up the reason for the festivities — a little boy reaching out for the teacher he’s missed since schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

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