WPD, NHCS organize parade for Rachel Freeman School of Engineering students

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 6:03 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools and the Wilmington Police Department put together a parade Monday for the students and staff at Rachel Freeman School of Engineering.

Teachers lined up up and drove out of the school’s parking lot as one big caravan through Creekwood, Turnkey, The Cove and Tidewater. Instructors decorated their cars and made signs offering words of encouragement for students.

“This is a very difficult transition for everyone. We’ve been serving meals here everyday since we have been out. They’re sad about it and so are we. We just wanted to do something to let our students know we care,” said Rachel Freeman School of Engineering Principal Dionne Sturdivant.

Teachers and students at Rachel Freeman are used to being affectionate, usually greeting each other with hugs, high-fives and fist bumps. The caravan was a way for the students and teachers to get that same affection at a safe distance.

"It's hard for us not to be affectionate, even as the kids pick up meals. This is another way to show people you are thinking about them. It's also a part of one of our tenets here at Rachel Freeman, be safe, be kind and be responsible. Our staff was definitely kind today," Sturdivant said.

The school reached out to the Wilmington Police Department to get help with the caravan, and found out that interim police chief Donnie Williams grew up in the Creekwood community.

“It all just came together. It’s a wonderful thing for Chief Williams to be a part of something to visit his old neighborhood,” Sturdivant said.

WPD officers say the best part was the joy on so many kid’s faces.

“That makes it absolutely worth it. It’s a stressful time for everyone involved and we’re just trying to be as helpful to the students, parents and teachers. We just appreciated the invite,” said WPD officer Alex Sotelo.

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