Elementary school students in the ELCO School District received a special drive-by visit this week – a Raider Flash Drive!

Faculty and staff from Fort Zeller Elementary School participated in a Raider Flash Drive on Thursday.

Dozens of ELCO faculty and staff participated in the event held Thursday afternoon.

“We understand that school closings have disrupted routines that are crucial for our youngest students,” said Fort Zeller Elementary School Principal Steven Lin. “The most important routine that we know our children and families have missed is the routine of making and maintaining human connections.”

Faculty, staff, and administrators convened Thursday afternoon at ELCO for the flash drive.

So, along with ELCO Superintendent Julia Vicente and Jackson Elementary School Principal Tam Hower, the administration came up with a solution: The Raider Flash Drive.

Vehicles were decorated with paint, balloons, and signs prior to the drive. Here, Jackson Elementary first grade teacher Heather Miller decorates a car while joined by daughter Alaina.
Teachers and their families decorated their cars to show their love for their students and for their school. Many vehicles carried the hashtag #ELCOTogether.
Teachers from Jackson Elementary School anxiously waited for the start of the Raiders Flash Drive.

Lin said the event was designed to remind the ELCO community that teachers and staff were still thinking and caring for their students.

Fort Zeller first grade teacher Kristi McDonnell gives a wave as she heads out for the Raider Flash Drive. (Provided photo)

“We were touched by the number of staff that came out, as well as the number of families that came out to greet us,” said Lin, noting his thanks to Vicente for actively supporting the project.

ELCO Superintendent Julia Vicente waves ELCO colors as she heads out for the Raider Flash Drive on Thursday.

“We also want to thank the police department at Millcreek Township (Chief Hostetter and Officer Katzman) and our School Police Officer, Officer Gonzalez, for helping us safely navigate our routes through Newmanstown, Kleinfeltersville, Schaefferstown, Myerstown, and Richland,” said Lin.

Faculty and staff from Jackson Elementary School held their own Raider Flash Drive immediately following the Fort Zeller parade.
Fort Zeller first grade teacher Rob Gantz brought his ELCO pom-pom for the Raider Flash Drive on Thursday. (Provided photo)

“Our Raiders Flash Drive provided our teachers and staff an opportunity to reconnect with our students and their families,” said Tam. “Our spirits were lifted as we saw the many support signs from our students and their smiling faces.”

Fort Zeller kindergarten teacher Michelle Zurick gives a wave as she heads out for the Raider Flash Drive on Thursday. (Provided photo)

“It was so wonderful to see students, their siblings, parents, and other community members outside their homes waving to us, holding up signs, and displaying encouraging chalk messages on their driveways,” said Jackson Elementary kindergarten teacher Ruthanne Gray.

“I received several emails and messages later from many parents and community members that this was exactly what was needed to lift everyone’s spirits.”

Fort Zeller first grade teacher Kimberly Eshleman shared those thoughts.

“The smiles, waves, signs, decorations and tears said it all,” said Eshleman. “We want our kids to know we love them, we miss them, and we care about them.”

“Be kind, be brave, and be safe.”

Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

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