Teachers, administrators and support staff at Hardin ISD turned out Tuesday evening to bid farewell to graduating seniors and to wish other students a safe and happy summer break. Adhering to social distancing recommendations due to the coronavirus pandemic, school employees lined the sidewalks at Hardin Elementary and Hardin High School, holding banners and waving flags, as the students drove past them in a “reverse parade.”
A line of vehicles was backed up along the SH 146 in front of Hardin Elementary as the children and their parents waited for their turn to pass by the teachers. Over at the high school, a steady stream of vehicles carrying eighth-grade and 12th-grade seniors funneled into the parking lot as they were cheered on.
“It was a good turnout,” said Superintendent Gerald Nixon.
According to Nixon, the idea for the parade came from Hardin Elementary Principal Paula Jackson and her staff. They passed along the suggestion to Nixon at an administrators’ meeting.
Nixon said the teachers were encouraged by the response of students as they picked up their instructional packets each Wednesday.
“The kids went crazy over seeing their teachers when they picked up their packets. They were so happy to see them,” he said.
As it couldn’t foresee what restrictions would be in place as they planned the parade, the district made attendance strictly voluntary.
“We didn’t want to tell our employees they had to be there. As it turned out, they all showed up and turnout was great from our students and their families,” he said. “This whole situation has been really hard on the kids, too. Think about all the seniors who didn’t get to do sports, didn’t get to participate in debates or other activities, didn’t get to go to prom. I am really proud of how everyone has dealt with a really bad situation.”