Cheers, waves, and pizzas send Malabar students into summer

Superintendent Stan Jefferson hands a pizza to the occupants of a truck that passed through Malabar Intermediate School’s goodbye-for-the-summer celebration Thursday evening.

      Malabar Intermediate School students and their families drove through a colorful sea of waves, cheers, bells and honking horns Thursday evening as the staff gave them a rousing sendoff into summer.

      Cheering teachers wearing orange T-shirts and waving bright orange foam swim noodles formed two lines in the parking lot. They called out to students, wishing them a happy summer, as vehicles passed between the lines.

      Principal Tom Hager, who greeted each car or pickup as they entered the parking lot from West Cook Road, said the entire Malabar staff has missed their fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders since schools were closed by the COVID-19 threat on March 17.

      “We’re here to show our students and their families how much we love and miss them,” Hager said. “We wanted to send them into summer with the hope that somehow we will all be back together in the fall.”

      The first 73 vehicles through the line received free pizzas, courtesy of Besta Fasta Pizza in Mansfield.

      Superintendent Stan Jefferson handed the pizzas to families as they stopped before leaving the parking lot.

      “The final quarter of the year has been difficult,” he said, “but our entire school community has stuck together during the difficulties caused by COVID-19. Celebrations like this tonight lift everyone’s spirits.”

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