by Sarah Kinter
East Montpelier Elementary School has always played an important role as a connector for our community. The Coronavirus, which caused the closure of our schools in March, has not diminished this vital function. While much of the time and energy of our teachers and students has been absorbed by online instruction, there has also been a bountiful expression of love and community outside of school.
One of the first activities for families was organized by community member Stephanie Minor, who organized and then with her family constructed 24 wooden “peeps,” named after the candy. Kindergarten teacher Jillian Zeilenga’s job was to place them all around our town. A scavenger hunt was born, and families hit the roads of East Montpelier to find them. Congratulations to the Cate family for being the first to find all 24, with Averie Brown and Rae Powers coming in a close second.
To keep track of all the new fun activities the PTNO posted new weekly themes and challenges for the EMES community on their Facebook page. Be sure to check it out! Thanks to teacher and parent Jillian Zeilenga and parent Julie Brown for maintaining the page, and of course, kudos to all the participants!
Other activities have included Mudpuddle Mondays, Star Wars Trivia night, painting kindness rocks for distribution around town for neighbors to find, working on the school pollinator garden with the help of parent Matthew Greenberg, pizza nights, Talent Week and most recently an at-home Field Day! 5k runs and bike rides by students, families, and teachers have been a popular way to honor students, especially graduating sixth graders. What a great way to get outside and have fun and exercise!
By May, the teachers were missing their students so much that teacher Beth Parker organized a drive-by Teacher Parade. Students and their families congregated at the ends of their driveways and in their front yards as a long parade of teachers in their cars drove by honking and waving and greeting their students. It brought tears to many an eye!
As you can see, connections in our town are alive and well, and always looking for new connectors!