Parade by teachers, principals big hit with Southington students, parents

Published on Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:56


SOUTHINGTON – Parents of Southington elementary school students were pleased to see their kids’ teachers and principals driving by their neighborhoods in a parade last week and waving hello. For students and teachers stuck at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, it was a moment of much needed levity by all accounts.

The parade was intended to kick-off the distance learning programs adopted by the schools while their doors remained closed. The principals and teachers of each elementary school in town paid a visit to their neighborhoods that their kids came from and waved to them from their cars. They were greeted by several youngsters who wrote messages in chalk on their driveways saying things like “we miss you” for their teachers to see when they drove by. Others created handwritten signs to hold as they stood on their lawns and waved back, thanking the educators for thinking of them during this trying time.

Southington Superintendent of Schools Tim Connellan said the response was “overwhelmingly positive.”

“We’ve received dozens of emails with positive comments from parents,” he said.

Jan Verderame, principal of Derynoski Elementary School, said that the visit brought the Southington community together.

“We had students and their families, past students and their families along with neighbors excited and participating in this event,” she said. “We even had one of our students playing the Derynoski School Song on his instrument. It was truly inspirational.”

Erin Nattrass, principal at South End Elementary School, said the visit was a “much needed boost’ for students and staff.

“We truly miss our kids,” she said. “Having a chance to see their smiling faces was energizing. We are all working hard during this difficult time, but the car parade was an excellent reminder of how strong our school community is. We truly are a ‘Small School With a BIG Heart!’”

Katherine Reeves, principal at Thalberg Elementary School, said the idea was inspired by a teacher who saw that teachers in another state had held a parade for their students.

“She asked if we could do this for our Thalberg community,” said Reeves. “We thought this would be an amazing way to kick off our distance learning on March 24. We wanted the students to know that we were still here for them and we wanted our families to know that we were still here to support them too. It was so heartwarming to see all the smiling faces of our students, their families and their neighbors. As elementary principals, we thought that all of our students would benefit so we took turns in town and all of the elementary schools held their own parade to lift spirits and spread some joy.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Southington Herald on Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:56. Updated: Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:58.