Wiscasset Elementary School fourth grade teacher Becky Hallowell hugged herself Friday to show passing students she would hug them if she could, if not for the coronavirus and precautions that kept classes out of the school all spring. Other staff did also. And one sign read in part, “air hugs!” In the shade and sweltering sun, staff in the reverse parade around the PreK to grade five school’s horseshoe driveway waved arms, signs and bubble wands, and squirted water at families driving slowly past.
Some students squirted back. Families smiled and waved. And some of their cars had signs with “We miss you” and other messages for staff. Each family could go around twice, Superintendent of Schools and acting WES principal Terry Wood said between prize drawings.
Staff gathered along the sidewalk and the driveway’s island to celebrate with families the last school day and summer’s start, together, at a distance.
“It’s very emotional. I just want to run over to the car,” math intervention teacher Lucy Preston, in a gold-colored “Welcome WES mathematicians” hat, said. “I think for everyone, this has been a very long period that hopefully will be behind us soon.”
“I just wish I could hug them,” Hallowell said. She called the event an appropriate sendoff. “This is perfect. They need to know that we’re still here, and we love them,” she said.
Administrative Assistant Cindy Collamore held a heart sign as she waved to students on their last day of her 25th school year working in Wiscasset schools. She is looking forward to number 26. “Everything’s different but it’s all still good.”
Sheri Eckert drove around with daughter Addy, who just finished fifth grade. “I am very thankful to the teachers and staff who came out in force to say goodbye,” Eckert said Monday. “So many smiles and so much love from them. It was definitely bittersweet and emotional for us, as my daughter is now on to middle school. We will miss you WES!”