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‘Pumped’ up!

School spirit gets a boost in Queens
New York Teacher
 East Elmhurst Community School mascot Lucy the Lion (teacher Caitlin Antompietri) greets students along the parade route

East Elmhurst Community School mascot Lucy the Lion (teacher Caitlin Antompietri) greets students along the parade route

UFT members at the East Elmhurst Community School in Queens organized a “Pump the Pride” community car parade to show off their school spirit and support families on March 12.

Teachers decorated their cars and drove a circuit through the neighborhood. They then parked in the school’s parking lot for a “trunk-or-treat” giveaway for the community. Students and their families gathered there — wearing masks and keeping socially distant — to help themselves to trunks overflowing with donated household goods and school supplies.

School nurse An Vong (center), with nurse-in-training Houria Fella (left) and nurse supervisor Roxanna Conyers, is ready to distribute hand sanitizer.

School nurse An Vong (center), with nurse-in-training Houria Fella (left) and nurse supervisor Roxanna Conyers, is ready to distribute hand sanitizer.

Teacher Krisztina Skrabonja gives out garden kits during the post-parade trunk-or-treat event.

Teacher Krisztina Skrabonja gives out garden kits during the post-parade trunk-or-treat event.

“The majority of the community was there,” said Brooke Robinson, a 2nd-grade teacher at the school. “Kids from our school were lining the streets; even kids and families from other schools were coming out and cheering us on.”

Teacher Maggie Barry-Moran decorates a vehicle.

Teacher Maggie Barry-Moran decorates a vehicle.

The giveaway in the parking lot ran through “hundreds and hundreds” of supplies in about 30 minutes, according to Robinson.

“It was really emotional,” said Chapter Leader Jessica Baity. “Some of the kids had never actually gotten to see their teachers in person” until the event.

Educators at the school had originally thought of holding a car parade before the COVID-19 pandemic sent students and teachers home. After a year of no school activities, they decided to hold the event to bring everyone back together and mark the one-year anniversary of the school shutdown.

 Chapter Leader Jessica Baity (left) and UFT District 30 Representative Ashley Rzonca stand by at the UFT table.

Chapter Leader Jessica Baity (left) and UFT District 30 Representative Ashley Rzonca stand by at the UFT table.

Families get information about the UFT BRAVE and Dial-A-Teacher programs.
Families get information about the UFT BRAVE and Dial-A-Teacher programs.

“At our school,” said Robinson, “we pride ourselves on being a close-knit community and having parents and families involved in everything we do.”

Families wave to teachers during the parade

Families wave to teachers during the parade

Baity said the success of the car parade “shows how schools really are the heart of the community.”

Related Topics: Parents, Coronavirus