Glee spread on 8-year-old Lily McKinnon’s face as she saw her Central Elementary teacher, Jacquie Hornback, for the first time in weeks.

The second-grader has been away from Hornback’s class since the start of spring break March 6. When she heard her teacher was driving by for a quick visit, she wanted to show exactly how it exciting it is to see her in real life, rather than virtually.

“I miss her so much,” Lily said. “I’m going to give her my sign when we get back to school.”

Lily’s father, Joel, a pastor at Angleton First United Methodist Church, was happy to see his daughter so excited.

“They are doing good and they talk about their teachers every day,” Joel McKinnon said. “These kids see their teachers every day and this means so much to us and them.”

With school closures exceeding weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Elementary staff searched for alternative ways to see the bubbling faces of their beloved students for the first time in weeks.

“Our staff decided to give the kids a parade of sorts,” Campus Secretary Ashley Khoury said. “We wanted to give our kiddos the love and share our love. We want our parents and our kids to know we are here for them always.”

Like a parade, teachers and staff wrote heartfelt messages on their car windows as they drove by the homes of their students Thursday. The students returned the favor with poster signs of their own, showing their appreciation and love for the educators as their cars passed their homes.

Even though she could only say “hi” from a distance, Hornback was still elated to see her students in person.

“It was exciting to see how they have been,” Hornback said. “It’s definitely been different. I’m used to seeing them every day. I’m glad Central decided to let us do something like this.”

Like Khoury, many of her colleagues worried about the health and safety of their students.

“It’s hard knowing if they are OK or not because this was a safe haven for a lot of them,” Khoury said. “It’s not just a job for us. We spend some much time with these kids and love and miss them.”

Principal Maria Macedo allowed free rein when the staff presented the idea to her.

“They came up to me with the idea,” Macedo said. “When I heard it, I loved it and allowed them to do it. I know all of them are missing their kids so much right now.”

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0149.

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