River Elementary Teacher Encourages Students To End Year On A High Grade
WHEELING, W.Va.- (WTRF) It has certainly been a tough year for everyone and what better way to spend the end of the school year than with some fun fancy dress for the kids at River Elementary.
According to River Elementary teacher Mike Kelley, “It has been a difficult year for many of our students and staff and dealing with the pandemic and other issues that have occurred. So, it was just a way to end up strong to end up happy and above all to let the children know that we are in the same boat. It’s about a family here at school.
River Elementary Principal Eric James was tickled pink when teacher Mike Kelley approached him with an idea to help boost morale at the end of the school year.
“He said I wanted to do something fun for the kids and knowing Mike, like I know him, I knew it was going to be something good,” said James, “I just couldn’t wait to see what ‘he would and when he made it up the first day I came here to work and in the early hours of the morning I saw him and just threw my thumb up. I was like a great job. good thing.
Principal James says Kelley is certainly one of a kind.
According to James, “He brings an element of good vibes to our building in the midst of some pretty tough situations. Mike is just one of those people in our building that people tend to lean on when needed. Mike is an out of the box thinker and he brings a new area of ideas and really does a great job of bringing these particular ideas to our staff here in the building.
Each morning, Kelley greeted the students for the last two weeks of school with a giant smile in a range of costumes.
Kelley says, “So on day 9 and I started out wearing summer clothes and just saying, ‘Nine Days’ Til Summer Break. For the eighth day I had a campfire and s’mores and it was “8 S’more Days’ Til Summer Break”. For day 7 I dressed up as a pirate, then I had a sign that said, “Arr, there are seven days left, Matey” and for day 6, it was a monkey, and he just said, “Hang In There Six More Days’ and I had little monkeys hanging from branches for my sign. On day 5 I didn’t dress for day 5 as it was a distant day and there were no students here. Then for day 4 there was the astronaut and I had, “Four Days Until Blast Off. For the third day, I dressed up as a pig for “Three Little Pigs Left.” For day 2 it was “Taco Tuesday” and I had a hat with a taco on it. And then for one day remaining, I did Batman which was “A Dark Night on the Left”. And then, for the last day, a Jewish robe would simply say to the children, “The end is here” and celebrate the last day of school. “
All these costumes must have cost money, but Mr. Kelley didn’t care.
The humble Kelley continues, “Amazon was my friend in this area and I spent around $ 200 and some of them I already had, some didn’t, so it was kind of mixed up with what I had and get some extra gear and my kids love to dress me up so I know I can give all the costumes to my kids to wear all summer and enjoy.
So many costumes, so much excitement, but there is one in particular that the kids say they liked the most.
Kelley said exuberantly, “It’s Taco Tuesday. There are only two days left in the school year. We’re gonna go through this together. We’re going to end this school year strong and we’re going to have a great summer break when she gets here. Two more days, guys. You got that. ”
Eighth grade student Carter Piatt said, “Personally I preferred the taco outfit because I liked his hat and his sign said, ‘Taco Two more days’ and I thought it was. really funny. ”
Eighth grade student Mallory Brake said, “It was very colorful and it looked like a taco and it also played Mexican music, which made it a really Mexican theme.”
Fourth grader Chailyn Still said, “My favorite was the taco because it was so colorful and I really like the tacos.”
Piatt also says: “I thought it was a lot of fun and a great way to end the year for such a difficult year for all of us. It just brings more joy to everyone’s faces and makes everyone smile. ”
Then there were students who liked something different.
According to third-grade student Kendall Jones, “My favorite costume was the astronaut because I love to see astronauts and rockets take off in the sky.”
Which did Mr. Kelley prefer?
“My favorite costume was the pirate. It was very funny to stand out with a pirate hat and tell the kids to walk the plank when entering school. It was one of my favorite moments, ”he says.
His bond with children is undeniable.
“It was a great experience just to help me bond even closer with the students by getting to know them better. Just put smiles on their faces every day. For some of our students this has been a tough year and seeing them smile every morning let me know I was making a little change in their lives. Something small and positive and that’s what we’re aiming for here is to make small changes to just get through this day and be a successful student every day, ”says Kelley.
Could there be a return of this masked man next year?
He also says, “Several staff members have asked me to make this an annual tradition, which I probably will. Some parents even asked me to start doing it on the first day of school. I’m not sure yet how it would work, but it’s something during the summer vacation, I’m going to think about it and come up with some new ideas to start the year off right and help us kick off the school year in a successful way. too.
“I will be looking forward to next year because if they do it again it will make me smile,” Jones said.
Brake adds: “Yeah, it would be fun if he did that next year and the following years as well.”
Kelley says, “It helps the kids stay kids and that’s one of the things we’ve tried to enforce here at school is that yes there is a lot of madness in the world today. hui with the pandemic, but for our students they are still the children and they are still facing these situations and we help them through this and help them know that it is okay to smile, that it is okay to smile. ‘be happy, that it’s okay to enjoy the little things in life and make the most of them every day.