Private School Directory
BELLAIRE • MEMORIAL • RIVER OAKS • TANGLEWOOD • WEST UNIVERSITY

Kolter Honors Teachers with Festive Parade

Deborah Lynn Blumberg
Click the Buzz Me button to receive email notifications when this writer publishes a new article or a new article in this column is published.
  • Bayne family

    Kolter parent Melissa Bayne waits to cheer on the Kolter teachers with her Kolter alumni son Cooper and fourth grade daughter, Jenna. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Eli Davis, Jules Davis,

    Fourth grader Eli Davis with his kindergarten sister, Jules. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Kagan kids

    The Kagan children - Eli (second grade), Lilah (pre-k), and Shira (fourth grade) - show off homemade signs for their teachers. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Nina Maxwell

    Kindergarten teacher Nina Maxwell makes her way through the parade with her family. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Julie Dickinson

    Kolter principal Julie Dickinson passes by cheering students on the parade route. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Sorena kids

    Twin first graders Angelina and Michael Sorena wait for the parade to begin in the back of their decorated mini van with fourth-grade big sister, Sophia. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Tiffany Groce

    Fourth-grade teacher Tiffany Groce waves to Kolter families who lined the streets of Meyerland. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Wen Chen

    Chinese magnet teacher Wen Chen brought her dragon puppets to the parade. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

  • Bayne family
  • Eli Davis, Jules Davis,
  • Kagan kids
  • Nina Maxwell
  • Julie Dickinson
  • Sorena kids
  • Tiffany Groce
  • Wen Chen

Hundreds of Kolter Elementary families held handmade posters and cheered for their teachers last week during a car parade celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.

The parade, organized by PTO President and Teacher Appreciation Chairs Brooke Wagenheim and Hydee Kagan, saw dozens of teachers and other staff members roll through Meyerland streets to hear words of praise from their students. 

To stay true to social distancing, teachers stayed in their cars, many of which were decorated with bright balloons and streamers. An officer from the local constable’s office helped honking vehicles navigate through neighborhood streets. Some teachers popped out of sunroofs to wave, while others brought along a furry friend in their backseat.

“The smiles were ear to ear,” says Kagan. “There were tears of joy and appreciation. There was laughter. There was community. There was so much love.”

When Kagan and Wagenheim brainstormed ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week, they wanted to focus on activities that could bring students and staff closer together after months of being physically apart. “Kolter has such a strong, close knit, positive community,” says Wagenheim, “and we knew the families would be up to our idea.”

During the parade, first grader Angelina Sorena beamed as she waved at her Chinese teacher, Wen Chen, as Chen spoke to students from inside her car. “This is so much better than Zoom,” Chen shouted. “We miss you.” 

The school’s nurse, Cathy Crisp, decorated her car with oversized handcrafted band aids and a huge plastic bag full of fake ice for students’ “boos-boos.” Her car stereo blasted Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby.” Some students along the parade route answered the administration’s call for kids to dress up like their teachers. 

Fourth grade teacher Kim O’Reilly, who’s been teaching for 17 years, said the parade was a welcome in-person encounter with students after weeks of seeing them on a computer screen. “We’re all doing the best we can to adapt to online formats, but there’s nothing that can replace in-person interaction,” she said. “Seeing all of the sweet little faces made me realize how much I deeply miss them all. It brought me to tears.”

The Kolter Elementary Teacher Appreciation Parade was the culmination of a week spent honoring Kolter teachers. On Monday, administrators dropped off goody bags full of treats to staff members’ homes, on Tuesday staff received Amazon gift cards, and on Wednesday they were given a pair of sunglasses - to help them feel “sun-sational." On Thursday, the school gave each staff member a credit for dinner from Fadi’s. 

Since in-person school ended in March, Kolter homeroom teachers have made personal calls to their students, administrators pop in to classes as special guests, and staff dropped off custom lawn signs for each graduating fifth grader.

“We knew before all of this that our administration and teachers were fantastic,” said PTO President Margaret Flippen, “but now we can see it even more clearly in all they’ve done to keep our kids learning and connected.”

Bayne family

Kolter parent Melissa Bayne waits to cheer on the Kolter teachers with her Kolter alumni son Cooper and fourth grade daughter, Jenna. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Eli Davis, Jules Davis,

Fourth grader Eli Davis with his kindergarten sister, Jules. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Kagan kids

The Kagan children - Eli (second grade), Lilah (pre-k), and Shira (fourth grade) - show off homemade signs for their teachers. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Nina Maxwell

Kindergarten teacher Nina Maxwell makes her way through the parade with her family. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Julie Dickinson

Kolter principal Julie Dickinson passes by cheering students on the parade route. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Sorena kids

Twin first graders Angelina and Michael Sorena wait for the parade to begin in the back of their decorated mini van with fourth-grade big sister, Sophia. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Tiffany Groce

Fourth-grade teacher Tiffany Groce waves to Kolter families who lined the streets of Meyerland. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Wen Chen

Chinese magnet teacher Wen Chen brought her dragon puppets to the parade. (Photo courtesy of Kolter PTO)

Schools in this article: 

To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.