Students and families greeted the Huband Park parade from the side of the road. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Comox Valley school holds car parade for kids at home

Huband Park staff hit the streets to send messages to missing students

There have been several events to boost morale for front-line workers around the community in recent weeks.

On Thursday evening, the staff from Huband Park Elementary decided their kids needed a boost too, so they arranged to hold a parade by driving through the neighbourhoods outside the city that make up the school’s catchment area.

Students and families waited by the side of the road in front of home, holding signs with messages to those in the parade, while the cars, many decorated, drive by and people inside held their owns signs to say how much they missed the students in their classes in recent weeks because of the COVID-19 situation.

Huband Park is a large school with almost 400 students who are spread out through many neighbourhoods north of Courtenay and Comox.

Principal Gracie MacDonald credited the idea to hold the parade to teacher Bobbi Carter earlier in the week.

“Everybody jumped on board and said, ‘Yay, let’s do it,’” MacDonald said prior to the event.

A deputy sheriff whose wife works at the school led the parade in his truck with flashers and sirens, while staff members were each in their own vehicles, which they decorated with balloons and other props. A smaller bike contingent also made the rounds.

“We’re going to hit pretty well every neighbourhood, not every street. It’s just too big an area,” MacDonald said.

The parade left from Virginia Drive north of Courtenay off Highway 19A before 6 p.m., then turned on to Huband Road where the vehicles did a couple of loops on connecting streets. The group moved up to Grieve Road and over to Coleman Road where they did a couple more loops before crossing the highway in the Merville area and making their way south along Headquarters Road.

“The kids are pretty pumped up. We put it out on Facebook and in email,” MacDonald said. “It’ll be kind of fun.”

One of the aims of the event was to give people in the school community a chance to see each other, even if from a distance. MacDonald said they do use technology to connect, but it’s not quite the same as seeing people if not up close, at least in person.

“It just doesn’t replace seeing them,” she said.

This holds true for some of the younger students, she said, who might need some extra reassurance that the school is still there, though it’s just a bit different for the time being, and that they staff care about them.

“One of these days we’ll all get to see each other, in the same place again,” she added.

READ MORE: Outdoor classroom coming to Huband Park Elementary

MacDonald said the school has been working to provide options for lessons for students whose families might not have easy access to technology. She also credits LUSH Valley Food Action Society for helping out with food programs to help some of the students.

“Like any school in the Valley, we feed kids,” she said. “Instead of us providing meals at school, they’re providing grocery hampers to families that need them, all over the Valley.”

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Huband Park educational assistant Barb Matson shows off her Huband Has Heart T-shirt, which a bike contingent for the parade wore for their ride. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Many of the cars were adorned with messages to the kids. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Every family member was getting in on the car parade. Photo by Mike Chouinard

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