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Blog: Monday, May 4th, 2020

Matsqui Elementary Joy Drive

On Thursday, April 30th, our Matsqui Elementary School community came together in the best way we can right now given the parameters of social distancing we currently live with. Our staff decorated signs, came to school (many dressed and ready for the forecasted torrential downpour!), and we lined the sidewalk at the front of the school. We turned on some super fun kid music and waited with anticipation for them to arrive. 

When the first car came around the corner, and we noticed more behind, a few of us were caught a little off-guard by the sudden onset of tears that may have sprung to our eyes! With horns beeping, wildly flailing arms and hands out the windows, and massive smiles on the faces of our students and parents, we began welcoming our community into a space of 'We got you!', 'We're in this together!', 'We may be apart, but we are still connected!', and 'This isn't forever, this is just for now'.  The hope and joy that was on the faces of our students and staff was tangible and palpable. 

We had the privilege of engaging with our community over the next hour and a half. Many families circled the neighbourhood a number of times so we could keep the conversations going, lingering in this moment of social connection and togetherness.

The emotions experienced by our staff and parents were noticeably powerful. We miss our students. We miss our families. Our families and students miss us. The collective experience of the effects of COVID-19 on our society is, in many ways, disconcerting, uncomfortable and disorienting. But as with anything in life, when we experience one emotion in earnest, it helps us appreciate the opposite emotion just a little bit more. Likewise, as we have been forced to be apart from each other, I have a hunch that we will all appreciate being together that much more when we finally have the opportunity to do so. 

One of our staff members shared this very powerful quote when we reflected on the afternoon together, "And maybe that was how it was supposed to be...joy and sadness were part of the package; the trick, perhaps, was to let yourself feel all of it, but hold on to the joy just a little more tightly." (author unknown). There was Joy. There was Sadness. It was all wrapped up in our collective experience of kids waving, staff smiling so hard their faces hurt, and parents driving the block countless times. 

Thank you, Matsqui Elementary, for coming that day. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for connecting. We are in this together. We WILL come out of this. And I believe wholeheartedly that we will be even stronger as a school community. 


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