Birchview Elementary hosts farewell drive-through for students

ISHPEMING — Birchview Elementary School in Ishpeming held a farewell drive-through on Wednesday afternoon. Teachers gathered students’ belongings to return to them as they drove by, but that wasn’t the only purpose of the event.

The drive-through gave students and teachers one last opportunity to say goodbye before summer vacation starts.

“You can feel the energy as we’re getting ready,” said Principal Matthew Byce. “The teachers are excited to be out here and they’re excited to see their kids. A few of them have goodie bags for them just to add a special touch.”

When the pandemic cut the school year short, students lost much of the daily interaction they were used to having. Here in the school parking lot, they got to catch up on some missed conversations from a distance.

“The teachers and the students were kind of ripped apart because of the coronavirus, and this is a really cool opportunity to reconnect again,” Byce said. “And even some of the kids might be able to see one another from different vehicles as they’re driving through. That human connection is so important, and I think that’s going to have a great effect on the kids and send them off into summer.”

Even though this wasn’t the ideal way to end the year, teachers were thrilled to have an opportunity to reconnect with their students one last time.

“Today is a great day,” said teacher Sarah Ryan. “It’s so good to see the kids again; it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to see them. And even though we can’t be really close to them and give them the hugs that we want to give them, we’re here telling them we miss them and we love them. We cannot wait to get back to what we do best in the fall, and that’s teach. So it’s so good to be able to see them again, and it’s a great way to say goodbye.”

Principal Byce says that with so many uncertainties about next year, the teachers wanted to give students an extra special sendoff for the summer. They came together to create this special event—one that won’t soon be forgotten by students, or faculty and staff members.

“It would’ve been a lot easier for us to just say we can’t do something because of the circumstances, but they really thought outside the box and had a creative solution to a problem that allows us to see the kids again,” said Byce. “And that’s something everybody’s been looking forward to.”