At the Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools reverse parade on May 11, students and families joined the sporadic honking and excitement of WDC teachers and staff with cars decked in Wolverine Pride and signs filled with messages of missing teachers. The approximately 125 cars trailed through the football field parking lot passing the rows of pre-K, elementary, middle and high school teachers and staff parked in their cars.

“It’s just really nice. It’s nice to see the kids,” said Norm Gallant, activities director and dean of students. “It’s just really special to see everybody come through.”

Students and families rounded each corner to waves and honks, and even pom poms, flamingos, heart designs, balloons and teachers standing in their sunroofs.

Senior Laura Krause waves to teachers and staff members during the reverse parade.
Senior Laura Krause waves to teachers and staff members during the reverse parade.

“It’s really nice to see our kids because I’ve been seeing them from emails and on computer screens and I miss seeing them on a day to day basis even the ones I don’t have in class, just the hustle and bustle of school,” said Dawn Hamelau, special education teacher.

The wide grins from all passengers continued as students pointed out a favorite teacher, yelled to see how they were doing or joked with them. The seniors came in leaps and bounds with cars decorated in class of 2020 garb. Three Wadena Fire Department trucks also blasted their sirens while squeezing through the rows.

“It’s just great to see everybody. I mean we haven't seen so many of the kids or even the adults for so long,” Gallant said. “Everybody’s had a smile, it’s nice to see the messages from the kids. It’s just been really, really heartwarming.”

Youth career advisor Dylan Huhn danced and waved handkerchiefs throughout the parade. “You want to show people that you’ve got to go on living,” Huhn said. “You can be afraid and you can still do good things and help people out. I wanted people to see that this is worth getting through.”
Youth career advisor Dylan Huhn danced and waved handkerchiefs throughout the parade. “You want to show people that you’ve got to go on living,” Huhn said. “You can be afraid and you can still do good things and help people out. I wanted people to see that this is worth getting through.”

Youth career advisor Dylan Huhn danced his way through the parade as he stood beside his car thanking families for attending all while wanting kids to know “fear is something you’re going to have to deal with. You have to learn how to overcome this.”

Students cheered while shouting, "We miss you!"
Students cheered while shouting, "We miss you!"

With the jubilant display of support for students, teachers and staff have also appreciated the support from parents and students, and of course being with their students daily.

“I just miss seeing their faces. I want to see their smiles and … you don’t want them to be grumpy but you want to see them on their bad days too so you can help,” said Krista Coyle, seventh and eighth grade English teacher. “I miss their jokes … they’re hilarious. Oh my gosh, they make me smile, laugh everyday and I forget how important that is in my day everyday.”