Millburn students parade for teachers at Gurnee Mills

  • Millburn Elementary School teacher Meghan Konicki waves to a passing family during the District 24 parade in the Gurnee Mills parking lot Mills Friday. Teachers left a space between their parked cars, and families drove on the parade route through the parking lot.

      Millburn Elementary School teacher Meghan Konicki waves to a passing family during the District 24 parade in the Gurnee Mills parking lot Mills Friday. Teachers left a space between their parked cars, and families drove on the parade route through the parking lot. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Millburn Elementary School Principal Ben Walshire wears a Darth Vader helmet as he greets families Friday in the Gurnee Mills parking lot.

      Millburn Elementary School Principal Ben Walshire wears a Darth Vader helmet as he greets families Friday in the Gurnee Mills parking lot. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Millburn Elementary District 24 holds a parade in the Gurnee Mills parking lot Friday. Teachers parked their cars with a space between each, and families drove on the parade route through the parking lot.

      Millburn Elementary District 24 holds a parade in the Gurnee Mills parking lot Friday. Teachers parked their cars with a space between each, and families drove on the parade route through the parking lot. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/8/2020 7:35 PM

Millburn Elementary District 24 students and families followed a circuitous parade route in their cars while greeting their teachers at the Gurnee Mills mall parking lot Friday.

Teachers parked their cars with at least one space between them, then stood outside to wave to families as they drove past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"This is a good thing for our morale and culture, for our community to kind of come together and support each other during this time," said Ben Walshire, who is principal of the single-school, 1,200-student district.

Walshire, who was wearing a partial Darth Vader costume, welcomed families as they entered the parking lot.

Many students held signs reading "We miss you."

Third-grade teacher Meghan Konicki said students and teachers meet virtually for classroom instruction several times a week on Zoom, but it was nice that they were able to see each other in person.

"We desperately miss them and can't wait to get back to school," Konicki said.

Because District 24 is spread out geographically, the district contacted Gurnee Mills so the event could take place in a centralized location, Walshire said.

Walshire said 150 to 160 staff members had RSVP'd to participate in the event.

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