WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Teachers who couldn't make the trip to Raleigh Wednesday gathered at the New Hanover County Government Center and the New Hanover County Schools Central Office in shifts for the Wilmington Rally for Education.
They wore red for the #RedforEd movement, and made sings like one that said "Honk for educators."
Wilmington Early College High School teacher Lauren Gray organized the event.
"There are some teachers who have reasons why they can't go," Gray said. "They are trying to save time because they only get X amount of it. They have personal obligations going on, different things like that and they want to be able to go to Raleigh, but it's not possible for them to be able to go."
That's why Gray and fellow teachers had the idea of having a rally in Wilmington.
"It's not necessarily that we're angry with New Hanover County Schools or New Hanover County Government, but they're the ones that affect us the most locally so we just want to let them know how much we care about education even if we can't get to Raleigh," Gray said.
Supporters were asked to stay at least 30 minutes at the Government Center at 230 Government Center Drive in Wilmington or the New Hanover County Schools Central Office at 6410 Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Teachers filled in almost every shift all the way to 5:30.
Parents and students joined teachers at the Government Center. One parent wore a "We love our teachers" shirt and said taking a vacation day to support teachers was the least she could do.
"I feel like our teachers do so much for our children and really are molding our children into who they're going to be in the future and it's really important," Heather League said. "I think of any profession that should be compensated and appreciated, it's our teachers. They are with our kids more than we are and so for all that they do inside the classroom and outside the classroom, it's immeasurable."
Earthlyn Armstrong is an occupational therapist in the Pender County Schools system. Her husband works at Gregory Elementary School, and she said she works several other jobs to make ends meet.
Armstrong brought her 1 year old and her kindergartner to the local rally.
"I think all of these kinds of moments and these opportunities can help to contribute to forming our youngest citizens into responsible adults," Armstrong said. "These kinds of opportunities, they come together to teach our children to be responsible and to participate and to just recognize the role and impact one person can have on their community."
Her kindergartner, Jude Armstrong, carried around a "Honk for educators" sign and is an advocate for education.
"I challenge people to come here today and start showing their teachers how you appreciate them," Jude said. "And the students. Even though the students don't really know about this, they do know today and by kindergarten and up and even below it, some people still know it."
Kaitlin Baden, a teacher at Myrtle Grove Middle School, went to the rally in Raleigh Wednesday morning and drove back to Wilmington for the rally here. She said it was a no-brainer to support both.
"To be completely honest, being tired doesn't stop teachers ever," Baden said. "I think we're kind of used to going down to the very bottom of the barrel as far as energy, but I think that with something as important as this, I don't think it ever occurred to me to not try to make it out to this last portion of the day. I can sleep on the weekend when I'm not working my other job."