“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo Buscaglia
Students throughout the state are adjusting to completing their school work at home after Gov. Tate Reeves, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ordered that all public schools close until April 17.
Students who attend the Bay-Waveland School District have been out of school since March 13.
On Saturday, March 21, teachers from North Bay Elementary took to the streets to surprise their students.
“When I woke up Saturday morning, I had a text message from Magan Russell asking what I had planned for the day,” NBE 5th grade teacher Devin Dorn said. “I told her we hadn’t made any plans, so she said get dressed we were going to see our students. I couldn’t get dressed fast enough.”
Russell said one of the things she misses most is “walking down the halls and into the classroom and seeing the smiling faces of all the kids’ faces at school.”
“We rode around in my car screaming ‘we miss you’ to as many as we could, simply to let them know that they are not alone in this battle,” Russell said. “We wanted them to know that we really do think about them. We really do care for them. For some, we are all they have, and they need to see our faces as often as possible. I love all of the students and want them to see me and remember me. They all need to know they have a friend for life in me.” Once Russell picked up Dorn, the pair picked up fellow NBE colleague Lindsay Adam.
“We showed up honking the horn and waving our sign out of the window,” Dorn said. “Lindsay hopped in and we got started. We stopped by as many homes as we could.”
Adam said she didn’t “hesitate for one second.”
“I knew deep down that we needed to see them just as much as they needed to see us,” Adam said. “Even though school had only been out for a week, that was seven days of uncertainty for us all.”
The trio even surprised some of their colleagues with their “shenanigans” and poster that read “We Miss You,” Adam said.
One of those colleagues was Stacey Ferguson, who said she was “elbow-deep in suds, scrubbing the tub” when her husband told her that she had visitors. To her surprise, it was her colleagues from NBE.
“I was overwhelmed with emotions when I realized these teachers felt so strongly about their community that they took great effort to reach out and let their students and fellow teachers feel loved. It was day five of school closures and I was feeling lost and out of touch with everyone, but after that sweet visit, I knew we would get through this together; it rejuvenated my faith and hope in this bleak time of the unknown. The only other time I felt this way was after Katrina when those who could help did, without being asked.”
Ferguson said the teachers are on a “mission” to show that they can be counted on in times of hardship.
“Even though we are made to be physically distant, we are not alone,” she said. “COVID-19 will not win.”
Adam said that she hopes all of the students know that they are loved and missed.
“This situation isn’t ideal, but we have to make the best of it,” Adam said. “It’s always a great day to be a Tiger.”
One parent wrote on Facebook that her child has had some “rough moments this year with her anxiety, but she (Dorn) has been absolutely amazing with her and I am so grateful for everything she does on a daily basis. We love you, Mrs. Dorn! Thanks for loving my girl.”
Another parent commented on Facebook that the teachers’ drive-by made her daughter feel “so special.”
Dorn said the students “definitely enjoyed seeing us, but we enjoyed seeing them way more.”
Dorn said the teachers are looking forward to paying more visits to students.
BWSD Superintendent Dr. Sandra Reed said this is just “another indication that our great teachers miss their students.”
Dorn said that teaching is her passion and being away from her students is “heartbreaking.”
“My job goes way beyond just teaching,” Dorn said. “My daily goal is to ensure that all of my students are learning, but beyond that I want my students to know that they are cared for, loved, respected, and encouraged in all parts of their lives. If at any time they need me, they know I will be there.”