EDMONTON -- "Never in a million years did I expect a year like this," said first year Principal Theresa Lema outside St. Jerome Elementary.

Before her staff of 20 teachers drove their decorated vehicles into the Abbotsfield neighbourhood for Edmonton’s latest teachers parade, the long-time educator was asked about being a rookie principal during a world-wide pandemic.

"Absolutely memorable," said Lema. "Hope we will not repeat this kind of situation I gotta tell you."

The small east-end school, which prides itself on its science program, has less than 140 students.

But with classes cancelled indefinitely, Lema says she has a new kind of pride for St. Jerome’s.

"What I’ve learned is just how much our staff loves the kids in our school, how much they wish them well, and how much they are missing them."

That’s why the entire staff went to 34 street in cars decked-out with bright signs and balloons, for a 25 minute parade around the school. Lema believes everyone is missing being together in a classroom.

Teachers parade

"When we come out of this there will be a new appreciation and understanding from students, parents and staff. The switch to remote learning has been really difficult for everybody all the way around."

She knows classes will eventually begin again. That’s when the teaching, interacting and bonding will start fresh.

"We look forward to the day when they get to be back in class and I get to give them a talking to if they need it! Just kidding!"