NICK EICHER, HOST: Up next on the World And Everything In It: Teacher Parades! They’re happening in communities all over the country. Teachers who haven’t seen their students in weeks because of coronavirus are hosting road trips and spreading love through their student’s neighborhoods. WORLD reporter Myrna Brown tagged along on one through her neighborhood.
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: It’s a sunny, spring day and I’m parked at W. J. Cooper Elementary in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
VOLUNTEER: Are we ready Cooper! Yay!!
This is the largest elementary school in the county. Teachers say it’s also the school with the biggest heart.
KRISTA PRUEHS: Being a teacher, it’s all about relationships and it’s hard not seeing those kids face to face every day…
Krista Pruehs teaches fourth grade. Because of the coronavirus, schools across the nation are closed and teachers like Pruehs are teaching online.
TEACHER: Put your flashers on!
But this afternoon, instead of computer screens, educators are sitting behind steering wheels. A line of more than 100 teachers zigzag through the parking lot. Engines purr as the Cooper Elementary “Tigers” get ready to roar during the school’s first teacher love parade.
PAUL WILLIS: Alright, here we are Cooper Tigers. I’m going live right here at the school…
As the school principal spreads the word on social media…
GEORGE KASHELLA: We’re going to pull out. We have A, B and C are the three routes.
…an assistant principal lays out the plan. Three different routes of balloon-covered vehicles to caravan through nearly 50 neighborhoods.
TEACHER: C will be leaving first. C!!! [Screaming and car honks]
As the first group of teachers take off, with horns, cowbells and sirens blaring, I quickly head to my car so I’ll be ready to fall in when the next route begins.
AUDIO: [Car door shutting]
We make our way down a busy two-way street, then we hang a left into our first cul-de-sac. Waiting on porches, peering out of windows and sitting on sidewalks dozens of moms, dads, and students are ready with hearty cheers and clapping.
The love fest on wheels continues for the next two hours. With one hand steering and the other recording, I manage to throw out a few questions from the road.
MYRNA TO MOM: Why is this special?
MOM: Because we feel loved and we feel missed!
After rounding corners and climbing what seems like countless hills, I pull over in the last neighborhood to listen to a group of moms and their children still beaming from the experience.
KITTI RAU: Oh it was just amazing! To see all of those teachers coming down, honking and waving. Oh my gosh, it was like 4th of July.
MYRNA TO KIDS: Did you see your teachers? Yes!
JESS FOUTS & KITTI: The teachers are the heroes. Absolutely. They’ve been the heroes this whole time.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Lawrenceville, Georgia.