Thursday will mark a Teacher Appreciation Week celebration unlike any before it in the Delaware City School District as the neighborhoods around Carlisle Elementary School will be decorated as a “thank you” to teachers.
The Carlisle Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) announced May 1 that in observation of Teacher Appreciation Week, it will be holding a “Pacer Parade of Appreciation” from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday.
On its Facebook page, the PTO urged families to encourage their children to send messages to their teachers thanking them and announcing a plan to have families that live near Carlisle to decorate their homes, lawns, or mailboxes to support teachers.
“This is not just a celebration of the staff, but the whole Carlisle community,” the PTO stated. “Gather your family and ride bikes or drive around, and take in the sights and sounds of our very first Pacer Parade of Appreciation!”
One of the event’s organizers, Sara Velie, said Teacher Appreciation Week is a PTO tradition, and she wasn’t going to let the tradition stop just because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Typically, we work really hard during Teacher Appreciation Week to fill that week with exciting stuff,” Velie said. “We have breakfasts, snacks, and a lunch we do for staff. So, we try to do as much as we can to show our appreciation, because they go above and beyond. Since we couldn’t do that, we were really trying to think of what we could do instead that would keep everyone safe and help not just the teachers, but the whole Carlisle community.”
Velie said the great thing about the parade is that everyone can stay safe at their home and still get a positive message to their teachers.
“It’s really just something to highlight the school year, which is ending in an odd way,” Velie said. “Show them that we appreciate them, now more than ever.”
Velie added all decorations are welcome, and there’s no specific thing that needs to be done at each house.
“We’ve urged everyone to be creative,” she said. “You can make a sign on paper or hang up Christmas decoration, and as teachers drive by, they’ll know that Carlisle families are there. It’s really feasible for our community. It’s not going to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. (Families) can show their appreciation and excitement for the end of the year.”
Velie said she hopes the parade gives students a chance to see some of their teachers again and vice versa, adding the abrupt end to the school year has been hard on her daughter, a second grader at Carlisle.
“It’s not how anyone expected or anticipated the school year would end,” Velie said. “It’s a pretty tough transition for her and her classmates. Her teacher is feeling the same way. This is a way to give everybody the sense of celebration and excitement they would normally be building up to at the end of the year.”
Velie added she’s looking forward to Thursday’s event and the chance to have another positive memory from this school year.
“It’s one way for us to put a good spin on the end of the year,” she said. “Let everyone say goodbye from afar in a happy way. (I’m) excited every year to be able to do this kind of stuff. This year is a different one for sure, but I think we’ll have a really fun time.”
Carlisle PTO President Susanna Caldwell said Tuesday the PTO has continued its flower sale fundraiser but has altered it to allow for social distancing and increased safety. She said the PTO has also dropped off care packages at Carlisle for teachers and staff.
Caldwell added the PTO is working on a way to celebrate fifth graders leaving the school for Dempsey Middle School.
“We’re very busy behind the scenes trying to love on our entire Carlisle community!,” Caldwell said in a message Tuesday.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.