By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Students from Marquez Charter Elementary School decorated cars and waved signs as they rallied past teachers and staff on Tuesday, May 5, as part of an Appreciation Parade.
The morning-time event observed social distancing by having teachers and staff wear masks and stand apart, divided by grade level.
Although Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first week of May, the Marquez faculty wanted to organize an event that collectively celebrated everybody that makes up the school—staff, students and parents.
Teachers were joined outside of the Marquez campus by main office staff, cafeteria staff and aides, making the event extra inclusive, while students and their families drove past in cars.
“We’re so used to recognizing one group or person, like Principal’s Day or Teacher Appreciation Day, and this was so cool because it was more of a circle of love, a circle of giving, everybody was showing support and appreciation for each other,” said Palisadian Lori Wilson, who teaches kindergarten at Marquez.
The event was suggested by fourth-grade teacher Theresa Chaides, and after approval by Principal Benjamin Meritt, the event was quickly put in motion.
Lindy Bazan and Randy Hain, who also teach kindergarten, said the intent was to celebrate the entire Marquez community, which is working diligently for the students and their education amid the pandemic.
“Traditionally during Teacher Appreciation Week, the parents and children … shower us with flowers and notes and drawings at school,” Bazan said to the Palisadian-Post. “And this time, we knew that that’s not the protocol … a lot has fallen on our parents.”
“We chose not to focus on teachers and instead we made it an appreciation of our community,” Hain said. “Parents have always been teachers but right now, they’re our partner-teachers, and they’re helping their kiddos understand instruction and apply it along with everything else they’re doing at home.”
“It was really important to all of us that we emphasize how much of a community we are and extend an appreciation of each other,” Hain added.
Since campuses have been closed across Pacific Palisades and Los Angeles to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students have been attending school virtually. The parade offered the chance to reunite and reconnect.
Teachers explained how challenging it has been to connect to individual students through a screen, and that the event was the perfect routine break.
“There was a lot of emotion … even just the teachers seeing each other, because we haven’t all seen each other since we had to pack up and leave,” Wilson added. “The parents I talked to afterward said it gave their kids that extra boost and gave them something to look forward to out of the regular routine.”
“I think for the first time since this whole thing, I really felt connected to my school community,” Wilson said. “It felt almost normal.”
And although the celebration had an incredible turnout of both families and faculty, the feeling remains bittersweet.
“From the moment I saw the first car about half a block from where I was, and the car had signs and balloons and you could hear music … I just started to tear up,” Hain said to the Post. “It’s been a while and while we see them online, it’s not the same thing … while we were waving to them, we’re kind of waving good-bye too … we don’t physically get to end the year with them.”
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