By Annie Rigby
Many activities were planned for high school graduates for the class of 2020, the biggest first milestone marked in many diaries, yearbooks and memories. However, there are two other milestones in the Loris community that were almost overlooked; the 5th grade graduation at Loris Elementary School (LES) and Daisy Elementary School (DES), and the 8th grade graduation at Loris Middle School (LMS).
Loris Elementary and Daisy Elementary fifth graders were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they missed the end of the year activities, the Field Day was cancelled, PTO activities and their recognition with their peers to receive the awards, acknowledgements of accomplishments, dress up in their Sunday best to enter the auditoriums with the Pomp and Circumstances playing, parents and grandparents in the audience and to have cake and punch with family and the staff. On Thursday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. an hour was set aside for each of the eight 5th grade classes to come to LES where they were recognized with certificates of accomplishments, a t-shirt with all of the names of the 5th graders on the back and photo opportunities.
One fifth grade student at Loris Elementary School, Cora Fox, said she was disappointed that students were not allowed to learn together in a classroom due to the virus. She said, “I was so excited to go to Washington, DC with my class this year; I worked really hard for three months selling chocolate to pay for my mom and me to both go on this class trip.” She said this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see DC with her classmates and her teachers. Cora said, “I was so disappointed when the trip was cancelled due to the ‘rona’;” she continued, “I was especially sad to learn that the school would keep the profit from the chocolate sales I made.” She stated that he is happy now to take the trip with her mom possibly in August. She said, “We can tour the city at our own pace and probably see more than we would have with a large group.” Cora is contemplating what she can sell to help to raise money for her and her mom to travel to DC in August.
The fifth graders missed the “lasts” of their elementary school experience, field day, musical concerts and more. The DC trip was the biggest activity missed, the students began collecting money, selling candy and working toward paying for their trip at the beginning of the school year. Students learn about the Washington area monuments and the White House. Cora’s family has made plans to travel to DC together that many other families cannot afford. Cora said she feels selling all the candy was a waste of time, she worked so hard to sell the most candy bars for $1 to help fund her travel expenses.
At the school a station was set up for the fifth graders to briefly stand to have their picture taken with their awards. A blue cap and gown was provided to make the day a bit more special for the students and their parents. The fifth grade teaching staff and other staff members stood along the sidewalk cheering the students as they arrived. Once they reached the designated spot they are met by their homeroom teacher and given their awards.
LES principal Lora Tyler said, “We can’t wait until your child sees everything we have in store for them!! It will be an amazing time for all!!”
Times were scheduled for each fifth grade homeroom class that began at 8 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. Tyler requested each student to arrive on time, she said, “Get ready to CELEBRATE one final time at Loris Elementary School.”
Cora’s smile is reward enough being recognized for all the accomplishments in honor roll, the presidents reading list, perfect attendance and some awards for music, art, or band. The pandemic may have delayed some of the activities she was looking forward to experiencing, she has something besides entering middle school in the sixth grade, she and her mom will take a trip together where they will spend time in a car talking and sharing what they want to see in the District of Columbia, but she will experience stops along the way to explore the difference in the food and less southern accents the further north they go. Maybe they will continue their journey and visit Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. There is much history between South Carolina and Washington DC, this is an experience she may not have found traveling by a chartered bus that rushes to DC and drops the students, teachers and guardians at the hotel with a rush from one destination to another.
So as Cora says if the ‘rona’ (Coronavirus) intruded upon her excitement for the class trip and field day events, she will experience more by riding in a vehicle up the highway, through the tunnel under the Potomac River from Virginia to Washington, to drive to their destination and then the fun begins.