By Chrissi Howell, 2nd grade teacher – HT Wing School
So I have this friend- she is a self-less volunteer helping with many town and school events. I am in awe of all she does. She asks me if grade 2 at Wing can participate in the 375th parade. “Please?” she asks. “They want some Sandwich kids in the parade.” I tell her I will ask my colleagues. When I pose my request, I offer up that maybe we can make wings and be eagles, like our school mascot. My crafty colleague, Susan Kelliher, comes up immediately with the idea of making wings. She has done this before with nylon and wire. The idea snowballs from there. Another 2nd grade colleague – Joanne Saunders – finds a coordinating book from the Guided Reading Room called “Things with Wings”. Our parade entry idea has been hatched!
We decide the kids will brainstorm everything they can think of with wings. We get lists from everything from fairies to macaws, then from angels to buffalo chicken wings. What imagination! We bring some science into the creative flow with discussions of wings and what they do. We learn new facts and explore non fiction text features from the book. Parents generously donate materials. The kids thoroughly enjoy creating, painting, and gluing their wings. It is a bonding activity in the first days of school.
There are many discussions among the teachers over the best way to attach the wings to the kids. Then there are many emails to parade coordinators. They suggest that we have the kids ride in truck. Hoxie Landscaping generously donates the use of a truck and trailer. The Hoxie staff is so kind and patient! They put thought and time into deciding on the right truck and trailer for us. They get multiple phone calls from me and even drive the truck and trailer to Wing for us with fellow second teacher, Stephanie Maseda, driving my car behind them! What service!
We have an in school parade for our kindergarten students so all second graders can proudly show off their wings. They flutter, fly, and smile! Our beloved custodian, Troy Jones, gets so inspired that he creates his own wings and parades around our classrooms later that day! I think he was a bat! He also takes down school banners to be used on the truck at the parade with Assistant Principal Mr. Dintino’s blessing.
The big day arrives with perfect weather. SHS Principal Dr. Ellin Booras and District ELA/Literacy Coordinator Maureen Wiklund help families at a VIP drop off area at Wing. My daughter hangs banners on the truck and trailer. My nervous hands can’t seem to handle the duct tape and clips! There are so many kids participating that parents graciously walk the length of the parade as there is no room on the trailer for them! They patiently hold hands, rush kids to the bathroom, hand out snacks, and still manage to grin and march!
Caitlin Shaw, a Wing School alumni, suits up to be our Mascot “Henry” for the day. Henry is an eagle so he is another thing with wings! No one can get a tired second grader or a crowd motivated like Henry and his assistants! (This brilliant idea came from Wing Principal Deb Landry.) The second graders cheer “We are things with Wings” enthusiastically to the spectators along the parade route along with “Let’s go Wing School!” My calm husband and son expertly navigate the truck and long trailer despite all this noise through the crowded parade route.
Many spectators cheered wildly when they saw us! Wing School Alumni were particularly boisterous! I noticed older folks smiled genuinely and sweetly at students. Was it all a fond memory? Oh definitely! Was a tribute to Wing teamwork along with Sandwich Town Spirit? Absolutely! As we say at Wing, “It’s a Wing thing!”