A line of cars slowly rolled through the Westar Mobile Home Park with horns honking Monday morning.
While it was late enough in the morning for the parade of cars, some festooned with Hendricks Elementary School colors or cheerful posters, it did leave residents in the area curious about what was going on.
The parade of cars were Hendricks teachers and staff greeting their students, who they haven’t seen since Shelbyville Central Schools closed eight days earlier in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the course of about 90 minutes, teachers went around to some of the Hendricks neighborhoods, honking their horns and waving as students and their parents smiled and waved back.
“We were able to see many of our students in the hour-and-a-half driving around town,” Hendricks principal Deryck Ramey said in an e-mail. “We hope we were able to spread some joy. It certainly filled our hearts.”
The parade was the brainchild of Rachel Todd, a third grade teacher at the school, who approached Ramey and other teachers in the district about the idea. Ramey said that almost immediately, the school had a lot of teachers express their interest in participating.
Todd said she saw a Facebook post of Noblesville teachers parading around town and she sent out a message to see if Hendricks staff would be interested in doing the same thing. The idea came together in about a day.
“I felt that with all we had been through over the last couple of weeks we needed something to make us smile,” she said in an e-mail. “We didn’t get to say goodbye to our kids and this was our way of connecting with them and tell them we love them.”
The teachers, in about 30 to 40 cars, were unable to visit every neighborhood that feeds into the school, he said, but they saw many.
“It was what our hearts needed in the middle of this unknown time,” Todd said.
Many of the cars had posters expressing their best wishes to students while they were separated on what would normally have been the first day of Spring Break.
“With the school closures across the state we knew it might be a few weeks until we get to see our students again,” said Ramey. “We wanted to let them know we are thinking about them and their families.”