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Glenwood Landing teachers’ car parade brings joy to students’ faces

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The sounds of children cheering and car horns honking were on equal display in Glenwood Landing on Tuesday during the Glenwood Landing Elementary School teachers’ car parade.

Over a dozen of the school’s teachers and administrators took to the streets of Glenwood Landing, waving to students from their cars and telling them how much they miss their days in the classroom. With schools having been closed since March 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was the first time students have been able to see their teachers in over a week.

“It was really nice because of the circumstances that we’re in,” said Gina Garcia, whose son, Antonio, is a kindergartener at Glenwood Landing. “The children miss their teachers and their school, and it was a really great sense of community to see them put smiles on the children’s faces.”

Garcia said that Glenwood Landing principal Bridget Finder had sent out an email to all parents about two days before the parade, letting them know their teachers were ready to give their students a reprieve from online work to remind them that they deeply care about the children they teacher.

“It really made us feel like a community and that we are genuinely cared about by the administrators and teachers at Glenwood Landing,” Garcia said. “It was above and beyond for them to organize that.”

While teachers at all levels form relationships with their students, Dave Ludmar, vice president of the North Shore Board of Education, said it is especially important for elementary students. His two North Shore Middle School children, Louisa and Jacob, are graduates of Glenwood Landing Elementary, and he said he understands how much those teachers care for their students.

“I think, at times like this, you do realize the value of human contact and the connections we all make,” Ludmar said. “When you’re deprived of that connection and you have the opportunity to reconnect, it gives you that sense of belonging that is a core of human need.”

Garcia said the car parade was especially meaningful to her, as she is a teacher herself, teaching special needs second-graders at P.S. 92 in Corona, Queens. Although she and her colleagues cannot have car parades because their students are so spread out, she said all teachers miss their students and being able to reach out and show their appreciation is a focal point of what it means to be a teacher.