Students and staff were equally excited to see each other last week during a farewell parade at Churchill Elementary School Wednesday, May 27.

A long line of staff wearing purple shirts stood on the sidewalk waving at students and parents in decorated vehicles as they slowly drove past. Staff and students made signs saying they missed each other. Some students just listed their teacher's name.

Principal David Wangen said the staff wanted to see students in person before the end of the school year. Schools closed in mid-March for distance learning. He also wanted educators and students to celebrate the end of the year, he said.

A long row of teachers line the sidewalk around Churchill Elementary School Wednesday, May 27. A long line of vehicles wound slowly past in a reverse parade as teachers and students waved at each other. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal
A long row of teachers line the sidewalk around Churchill Elementary School Wednesday, May 27. A long line of vehicles wound slowly past in a reverse parade as teachers and students waved at each other. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

There were so many vehicles, Wangen said he gave up trying to count them all. The line was steady for 90 minutes.

“The turnout was amazing,” he said.

Jill Elwood, a library media specialist, said she was happy with the turnout. Elwood is retiring after 33 years of working for the district. Annette Unertl, a fourth grade teacher, and Cheryl Foss, a paraprofessional, are also retiring from Churchill this year.

Annette Unertl, 4th grade teacher, responds to a student talking to her during the Churchill Elementary School end of the year parade. Unertl is retiring this year. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal
Annette Unertl, 4th grade teacher, responds to a student talking to her during the Churchill Elementary School end of the year parade. Unertl is retiring this year. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

Elwood said the parade helped, but she does not feel like she has complete closure to her final chapter.

“I missed not seeing the kids, being able to explain that I am retiring,” Elwood said. “I miss not being able to give the kids hugs.”