Shortly before the calendar turns to the month of June, the Perry Elementary School staff put on one last event before summer officially kicks in with the Summer Send-Off parade.

Beginning at 3 p.m., cars lined the front parking lot of the Perry Elementary School with students saying one last goodbye to their teachers. There was quite a lot of support shown from the students to the teachers, and even family members.

“We have such a great community here in Perry, it’s great to see all the students one last time before summer,” said assistant principal Ryan Marzen. “This event helps with some much-needed closure. It wasn’t the way we wanted to end the year but it does close the chapter of this book and allows them to move on to next year.”

It certainly was a school year far from normal with distance learning becoming one of the new key phrases within schools across the country. Even though the shortened school year did leave a bad taste in the mouths of students and teachers, it did provide a sense of perspective as Marzen noted.

“The great thing about being a teacher here in Perry, kids don’t want to leave school because they love it so much,” began Marzen. “All of the teachers have had a great growth mindset in the world throughout all of this. There is a lot to be learned from our teachers just within the art of learning.”

Marzen also noted the importance of the school system within the community. The outpouring of support was shown Friday afternoon and highlighted that importance. It was also a time for the students to thank their teachers for what they have done not just throughout the pandemic, but what they have done on an everyday basis. Through the pandemic that has included an abundance of technology usage that Marzen and the rest of the Perry Elementary School staff feel could remain with them across future school years.

“The potential for more online learning is always in the back of everyone’s minds,” Marzen said. “The great thing is that our teachers use a lot of technology-based learning already. With all the experiences our teachers had this past year, I know they’ll be prepared for whatever might come their way.”

Marzen also noted online learning tools like Seesaw, Class Dojo, computer science and more that have already been in place, could be utilized more if needed down the road.

For now, the Summer Send-Off event gave both teachers and students a little bit of the normalcy back that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away.

“At least just for this day, it does make things seem somewhat normal,” said Marzen. “It does bring back that normalcy which is super important for kids because they love routines. It’s also important for our staff as they can now get set to prepare for next year.”