Resurrection Catholic Elementary School (RCES) traditionally honors their grandparents with a special mass followed by a breakfast reception. However, this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the mass and breakfast had to be canceled. But fortunately for all, RCES wasn’t going to let COVID-19 stop their annual Grandparents Day celebration.
In lieu of the mass and breakfast reception, Principal Sister Marilyn Springs brought up the idea of having a parade. The Committee chairperson of the event, Lori Miller, followed through with that idea to create a day that would make grandparents feel special, but also adhere to social distancing.
The PTO purchased pompoms for each child to wave, as well as a poster board for each child to create a special sign. Art teacher Micah Gatchell made sure that every child had a sign to wave. In addition, all participating grandparents were asked to decorate their vehicles and golf carts, and many of them went all out with decorations.
The lineup of vehicles stretched out for many blocks, all the way to Beach Boulevard. There were assigned spots for each class so they could practice safe social distancing from other classes, and it also served as a way for grandparents to know where to spot their grandchildren as a map of each class’s designated location had been mailed out ahead of time.
Teacher and parent Jenna Baber said, “There are so many things that I love about our sweet school but today was probably one of my favorites thus far. I saw more lavishly decorated golf carts and vehicles than in most holiday parades. Grandparents really showed up and showed out!”
Teachers and staff enjoyed watching the students as they excitedly waved their pompoms and jumped up and down as they saw their grandparents drive by.
Miller’s 89-year-old grandmother thoroughly enjoyed the day, saying in all her years she’s only ever been a spectator at parades, never a participant, and by being in the parade it made her feel like a “superstar.”
Miller’s grandmother also pointed something out to her that made her look at the parade in a different way. Many of the elderly have still been very restricted on how much they can get out due to health concerns and the risk of COVID-19. So for her, the parade was one of her first chances in months to get out in a social environment and still feel safe since she was in her own car maintaining a safe distance from others.
The parade was such a hit that almost immediately there were questions about whether or not it would become an annual event. Although it’s too soon to make any decisions, it’s always a possibility.
Miller extends a special thank you to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department for leading the parade and to the Pascagoula Fire Department whose fire truck ended the parade. Miller also thanks those who helped her organize the event – Sister Marilyn, Patty Fox, Nicole Inbau, Catherine Frederic, Courtney Poole, and Coach Pickens. And last, but not least, thanks also go out to everyone – teachers, staff, parents, students, and especially grandparents – who made the first, and hopefully not the last, Grandparents Day Parade a success.
Grandparents Day is a day created to celebrate the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. It’s observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The month of September was chosen to signify the “autumn” years of life.