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A passionate parade

Few parents, students and educators in Suffolk Public Schools probably ever imagined that the simple act of driving down the street, or watching others drive down the street, would bring them to tears.

But that’s exactly what’s been happening this week, as educators from Kilby Shores, Florence Bowser, Creekside and other schools have teamed up to parade through neighborhoods their schools serve to wave to their students and provide a little bit of in-person encouragement — albeit from the middle of the street.

Teachers decorated their cars and held signs with messages like “We miss you” and encouraging their students to get in 20 minutes of reading a day. Lots of students had their own handmade signs, too.

Teachers said they deeply missed their students and were devastated on Monday when Gov. Ralph Northam announced Virginia schools will be closed for the rest of the year. March 13 was the last school day for Virginian students, and lots of teachers and students don’t feel like they had a proper goodbye.

Make no mistake about it — students and teachers are still working hard, remotely. This is far from a giant vacation for them. But they aren’t able to see each other in person, and that’s hard on teachers with a true passion for what they do and young pupils who come to rely on their teachers not just for instruction but also for stability, emotional support, mentorship and more.

Many teachers, parents and students admitted to shedding a few tears during Tuesday’s parades, and that’s OK. It was a bright spot in an otherwise uncertain and unstable world, which touches lots of emotions even we find hard to put into words.

If anyone ever needed more proof that the dedicated teachers of America — especially those right here in Suffolk — deserve their place as hometown heroes, look no further than the last couple of weeks and events like these parades, which truly go above and beyond.

We thank all of the dedicated educators in Suffolk for their passion and commitment.