By Annie Rigby
Loris Elementary School teachers and staff have not seen their students in person since, Friday, March 13. With Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order to close all South Carolina schools beginning Monday, March 16, teachers have missed interacting with their students. Paiton Harrelson stated that the Ride Thru Town was a joint effort beginning with the first grade teachers and expanding to all grades from child development to fifth grade staff participating in the ride. On Friday, May 15, some of the LES PTO members joined in the LES teachers caravan making a 50 plus parade of vehicles participating in the ride through town.
Harrelson said, “Everyone knows that I grew up here in Loris and asked me to help develop a route to drive through town where we can see many of our students.” She enlisted the help of her husband, Brandon Harrelson, to map out the route since he is the director of the city water works department, recreation and director of code enforcement which is now combined as director of facilities and operations.
Harrelson said that the teachers wanted their students know that they love and miss them and are thinking of them. With messages written on the windows of their vehicles, balloons and streamers on their vehicles the caravan was ready to roll. The ride began at LES parking lot following a map through town and ending at the Loris Recreation Sports Complex.
During the ride Harrelson said she was surprised to see many of her students both past and present waving back as they caravanned through the streets of Loris. She has taught first and second grades and is now a child development teacher which is her dream job. She said, “Seeing the students felt like it was the first day of school again, I was excited to see everyone and seeing more children than I had anticipated.” She said, “We were all excited to see our students in a sort of face-to-face social distancing event.
At the recreation parking lot several cars filled with students waving to their teachers drive by as the sound of horns blaring, waves and shouts out the windows of the cars as they passed, children were excited to see their favorite teacher past and present. Leann Todd brought children Andie and Allie Todd. Andie is a 5th grader who misses her friends and her teacher, she began to well up in tears when she spoke of what she misses most, the interaction with her friends and fellow students in her class and her teacher. She said, “I am excited about going into the 6th grade and being in middle school and to see my friends again.” She is not concerned about the graduation commencement the 5th graders have each year, she is just looking forward to the school returning to normal. Allie is in child development and was excited to see her teacher wave.
The teachers wish to thank the Loris Police Department Chief Gary Buley and Lt. Greg Lee for their help to control traffic as they reached intersections. A special thank you and shout out to Brandon Harrelson and Mayor Todd Harrelson for leading the caravan through town.
LES requested to remind parents to register their children for the 2020-21 school year for all grades; it is registration time to sign children up for school for the 2020-21 school year. Although there are no confirmed plans for the next school year, students need to register now. Visit the Horry County School District website to complete the registration. Child development has 60 spots available; three classes of 20 students in each class can complete an application online at the HCSD website. Each May the children applying for child development are tested in ranked upon test scores; however, at this time no plan has been developed.
Families of students from LES stand along Main Street to wave to their teachers.