BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A parade to honor Burlington students getting ready for high school put teachers back in the real world with their students.
Graduation season has been replaced with parade season with one intent in mind.
"To celebrate our eighth-grade students and their accomplishments at Hunt," said Mattie Scheitt, the Hunt Middle School principal.
Celebrations in Burlington and South Burlington Monday, acknowledging that learning from home hasn't been easy.
"Middle school is so much social and emotional and I think being away from the building away from their friends and teachers is just a big part of why they come to school and I think today is just a way for us to connect with them," said Anjie Soucy, a PE teacher at Tuttle Middle School.
But before the horn honking, sign-waving and cheering could begin, the students first had to figure out distance learning before moving on to high school.
"I think it's been difficult because middle schoolers, in general, are very social, so it's been difficult not being with their peers and also not getting the immediate feedback from teachers on their schoolwork. But I have incredible staff who have really leaned into this and made sure that we have contact with almost all our students on a weekly basis," said Scheitt.
For the teachers, it's about celebrating the students' accomplishments, and for parents, it's about celebrating the teachers who were there every step of the way.
"We are coming together as a community and we are celebrating these amazing teachers, they have gone so far above and beyond, it's wonderful, we want to honor them," said Nikki White, whose daughter is graduating from Hunt and heading to Burlington High School.
Parents and students celebrating teachers' ability to adapt and teach from a distance is not going unnoticed.
"It's been going better and better as every week has gone on, we are adjusting and making changes and finding new ways to learn," said White. "It is different and her teachers have noticed that she is learning new things, and there is not as much attachment to how she is learning so finding new ways and being OK with that."
But everyone has plenty to celebrate heading into the summer.
"To celebrate a milestone it's really the graduation, you have high school graduation, which is a big thing but this a huge stepping stone they've been in school with us for three years and this is a difficult time but this celebrates moving on and starting HS and a new chapter," said Scheitt.