BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — A parade of eight vehicles that came through Belmar and Lake Como on Wednesday afternoon may have been small in size, but big in Belmar Elementary School spirit, to say the least.

With home instruction in place for more than a month, the school’s prekindergarten teachers wanted to find a way to reach out personally to their students, but keep “socially distant.”

So why not have a parade? The idea, suggested by teacher Laurie Diffley, quickly gained speed and on April 22, all pre-K teachers and support staff — and even some teachers’ family members — took off on their adventure around town.

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Following a route mapped out by teacher Jackie Dahrouge, they traveled from Fifth Avenue in Belmar to Laurel Terrace in Lake Como, stopping at the homes of 57 students, where many were anxiously awaiting them with large posters — and big smiles.

“Our vehicles were decorated with motivational messages, drawings of hearts, balloons, flowers and colorful streamers,” said pre-K teacher Patricia Glab. “The children and their parents were ecstatic and excited to see us as we honked our horns, shouted their names, held up posters and cheered them on.”

Some youngsters' posters read, “"I love you", "We miss you" and "You are the best teacher!”— messages that meant so much to the teachers, including Carly Tancredi, who said, "I teared up many times. They were adorable!". 

Following the procession, the teachers received many text messages and emails from parents who thanked them for their support — with many also posting photographs of their overjoyed children, Glab said. “It was an incredible and teary-eyed event that brought us together, connecting with the little ones and sharing a happy moment,” she added.

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