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Teachers to students: We miss you

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Jennifer Baker, of Manson, along with Macy Wright, 6, Laila Baker, 7 and Hudson Huen, 5, wave as the Manson Northwest Webster teachers parade makes its way through town Tuesday afternoon. Each of the children had made their own signs to greet their teachers.

MANSON — Amanda Sigler parked her van in a driveway along Main Street in Manson Tuesday afternoon and waited with her children, Hadley Sigler, 7 and Easton Sigler, 10.

The pair did summersaults, wrestled and blew off some steam in the grass along the street.

Nearby, a mother and her two children set on their front steps.

The social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic kept the two groups apart.

It has also kept them out of school, neither has seen their teachers or friends since it closed March 16.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Piper, along with his human, Manson Northwest Webster preschool teacher Janet Olson-Egli, get ready to ride in Tuesday’s teacher parade around Manson. Yes, those are Christmas lights strung on her vehicle.

The teachers haven’t seen their students, either.

That ended Tuesday when a group of Manson Northwest Webster teachers in about 20 cars made their way around town in a Teachers Parade. It started near the school and ended near the school, after going down just about every street in town.

Elaine Merritt, an elementary special education teacher, found a few balloons in the school colors and decorated her car.

She misses her students and is concerned for them.

“I do,” Merritt said. “I’m missing them a lot. We’re losing ground. It’s not just my kids, everybody loses ground when they’re not here.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Amanda Sigler, of Manson, along with her two children, Easton Sigler, 10, at left and Hadley Sigler, 7, wave as as Elaine Merritt, elementary special education teacher, drives by in her decorated car Tuesday afternoon during the teachers parade through Manson.

There was no preplanned parade route.

“I’m just following the leader,” she said.

Wade Niewoehner, a sixth-grade teacher, was getting a new experience. Attaching balloons to his van.

The missing goes both ways, he said. He misses his students, he hopes, they miss him.

“In some way or another,” he joked.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Teresa Ewing, a fourth grade paraeducator at Manson Northwest Webster, gets ready to roll out for the teacher’s parade around town. Ewing decorated her vehicle in a Dr. Seuss motif.

He’s working on ways to keep his own children busy at home and he’s also exploring ways to stay in touch with his students online.

Jenna Waller is also a sixth-grade teacher. She brought her son, Hunter Hammen, 7, to go along.

“I do miss them,” she said. “They were a really great group of kids.”

She isn’t sure they miss her.

“I hope they do,” she joked.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Manson Northwest Webster sixth grade teacher Wade Niewoehner works on putting balloons on his van Tuesday morning as he prepares for the teachers parade around Manson.

Hammen had mixed feelings about missing his friends in school.

“Half of them,” he joked.

He’s enjoying his time at home though.

“I’d rather be at home,” he said. “I’m too tired at school.”

Kindergarten teacher Jan Nelson misses her students too. She made a sign for her car to greet them during the drive around town.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Hunter Hammen, 7, looks out the window of his mom’s parked car Tuesday morning to see all the other teacher’s cars lined up to take part in the Manson Northwest Webster teachers parade. His mom is MNW sixth grade teacher Jenna Waller.

She’s doing some remote teaching.

“I just did a Zoom where I read them a story,” she said. “Friday is science day, we call it Fun Friday, I’ll be doing a science experiment they can do at home with me.”

They miss her too.

“I’ve gotten letters from some of them,” she said.

She’s doing fine on the one item that seems to have disappeared, toilet paper.

“We will survive,” she said.

Along with her human family, preschool teacher Janet Olson-Egli brought along the family dog Piper. She went with a Christmas motif that included lights on her vehicle and a Santa suit on Piper.

“Everybody likes Christmas, it’s something to make the kids smile,” she said.

It’s been rough on her students.

“I don’t know that a 4-year-old understands why they can’t come to school,” she said. “We’ve got some amazing parents though, they’ve been working with them and talking to them.”

The parade was a beautifully noisy event. The teachers honked their horns along the route, socially distanced groups of students waved, held up signs and smiled at them along the route.

The one thing they didn’t do was drop off homework.

“No,” Easton Sigler said. “No homework.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Manson Northwest Webster kindergarten teacher Jan Nelson decorated her car with a sign letting her students know she misses them.

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