Parents, students coordinate caravans of kindness for teachers

Students placed signs in the yard of 1st Grade Teacher, D’lee Sipes’ home.

Emotions have run high recently as students across the state realized they had attended their last day of the 2019-20 school year in the classroom. Parents and students are preparing for the new normal of e-learning as teachers are adjusting their lessons to online versions. While teachers and administrators are working tirelessly to ensure students are receiving the best education possible, one thing will be missing: traditional interaction with students.

Three Linton-Stockton Elementary parents took that missing interaction link into their own hands over the weekend as they arranged a caravan for Mrs. Sharman Smith, Mrs. Karman Albright, and Mrs. D’Lee Sipes. Students stuck their heads out of their parents vehicles, holding signs and waving to their teachers as they passed by their teachers homes caravan-style.

The events, organized by Jamie Abbott, Nichole Hawkins, and Laura Rose, was extra special to Albright and Smith as the sisters will retire at the end of the school year with 42 and 43 years of service respectively.

“I enjoyed seeing my students as they drove past with their parents. They all made signs telling me how they missed me and wishing me a happy retirement. It brought tears to my eyes. I knew I missed them, but didn’t realize how much until I saw their sweet little faces. It did my heart good,” Albright said. “To my parents I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to see my students and say hi.”

Smith said her heart was overflowing with love when she saw her students.

“I cried like a baby when I saw the line of cars coming to my house. Seeing the kids smiling faces, hearing their voices, and seeing the signs they had made for me made me feel so special and loved. This overwhelming feeling of love and comfort came over me because I have missed my kids so much. I always worry about them: Are they healthy? Do they have enough to eat? Are they doing well with E-learning? I also miss my communication with my students, hearing their stories, and learning about what they have been enjoying in their lives. I even miss the simple and sweet things like their hugs when they see me. To be honest, I just miss everything about my students,” Smith said. “On Saturday, April 4th at 2 p.m., I was the luckiest teacher ever for having my students surprise me with such an amazing act of kindness and love.”

Linton-Stockton 2nd Grade Teacher, Sharman Smith, waves to her students. Smith will retire this year after 43 with Linton-Stockton Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Marshall Smith

Sipes called the drive-by caravan a blessing. “I was truly overcome with emotions when I saw all of them. It was good for me to see their faces and know that they were doing okay during this crisis. I think it was also great for the students to see that their teachers were ok as well,” Sipes said. “Even though I have done a couple of Zoom meetings with my class so we could see each other, this was a blessing to everyone to see each other in person. I am very thankful that my parents took the time to do this for me and their children.”

Linton-Stockton 1st Grade Teacher, D’lee Sipes, greets her students as they arrive at her house.
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