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North Bellmore Students Pay Tribute To Their Teachers

Distance learning did not stop students in the North Bellmore School District from recognizing their teachers during national Teacher Appreciation Week from May 4-8. Through video tributes and car parades, the youngsters showed their gratitude for the educators who do much for them.

On May 8, Saw Mill Road Elementary School fourth grade teacher Chrissy Meiselas stood in front of the building as car after car came through the front circle so her students could say hello, wave and show handmade signs with personal messages. Ms. Meiselas also held up a sign, “You may not be in my classroom, but you’re always in my heart.”

Having only seen her 23 students on a screen for the last two months, Ms. Meiselas was eagerly anticipating the parade as soon as she was told about it. Although it lasted only about 15 minutes, she said it was a very meaningful and touching gesture.

The following day, children from Maria Regan’s fifth grade class at John G. Dinkelmeyer Elementary, along with their families, made a surprise visit to her home. She stepped outside to see a parade of cars carrying her students, whose smiles and messages of appreciation brought tears of joy to the educator of 32 years.

In the middle of the parade was Principal Danica Brugge and her family. Ms. Brugge’s husband, Steve, had Ms. Regan as his fifth grade teacher during her second year at Dinkelmeyer. As the car stopped in front of her house, he held up a colorful sign, “30 years later, Mrs. Regan is still my FAVORITE.” Ending the parade was Superintendent Marie Testa, who was there to thank a teacher so beloved by students past and present.

“I feel truly blessed and so loved,” Ms. Regan said. “I miss my kids so much and I miss their families. My kids know that I love them and that I miss them with all my heart. This parade was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received in my life. I can’t believe the principal and superintendent would come out on Saturday! From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it so very much.”

The Saw Mill PTA typically caters a luncheon to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week but since they could not be together this year, the PTA created a virtual celebration. A video was filled with photos from every class that were submitted by parents.

Parent class coordinators at Newbridge Road Elementary School put together videos for the faculty, including each grade-level and special subject area teacher. Many of the videos were photo slideshows set to music of students holding up messages for their teachers such as “Thank you” and “We miss you.”

“The video was such a heartwarming surprise and it made me feel so special and loved,” fourth grade teacher Danielle McAllister said, noting that each student’s slide included personal touches such as favorite books and little jokes shared throughout the year. “I miss laughing and learning with all of my wonderful students each day in the classroom, and the video brightened my entire week.”

Michelle Hooker, who has taught at Newbridge Road for 33 years, said it is difficult to be away from her students as the best part about teaching is “seeing their faces, listening to their stories and teaching them up close and personal where I am able to focus on the individual needs of each child.”

In addition to receiving notes and cards during the week, each of her students held up a word for a photo, which were put together to create a larger message in a video that created by a class parent and set to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Noted Ms. Hooker, “This little tribute once again made me realize I have the best job in the world.”

Photo courtesy of the North Bellmore School District

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