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Students reunite with teachers through East Meadow school's car parade

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When Amelia Garcia, the assistant principal of Bowling Green Elementary School, drove into its parking lot in Salisbury on April 2, she was met by roughly 50 cars. Some were decorated and had messages painted on the windows. All drivers were cheering and smiling. “You could just feel how vibrant they were,” she said. “And the parade hadn’t even started yet.”

The teachers spent the next two hours driving through the East Meadow community to cheer and celebrate with students, who had been learning from home for the past three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Laura McNeice, a fifth-grade teacher at Bowling Green, brought the idea to administration as a way to combat the isolation and help students reconnect with their teachers.

“I knew the children would just be overwhelmed with joy when we drove around the neighborhood and we were too,” Garcia said. “Back at the building, we’re such a family and you felt it yesterday more than ever.”

The East Meadow School District’s transportation department carved out the route to ensure that all 850 students at the school would have a chance to see their teachers.

“By the time we got back home, we received e-mail messages from parents thanking us and wanting to let teachers know they appreciated it,” Garcia said. “Even neighbors were so happy to see us. It was a breath of fresh air for everyone during this difficult time.”

The parade was the second effort made by teachers at Bowling Green to connect with their students despite the distance. Last week, staff sent students a slideshow video with photos of each staff members holding signs with messages like “I miss you,” and “I can’t wait to see you again.”