Anna Merritt Elementary pulls off a parade

CONTRIBUTEDStudents wave as a parade staffed by Anna Merritt Elementary School teachers, local police and fire officers passes by their house on Monday.

It seems it's not just the coronavirus that's going around. Students, parents and teachers in the area have got a real bug — to get outdoors and appreciate one other, as well as extend their best wishes through the pandemic.

Socially-distant gatherings have popped up throughout the county, including a driveway cookout in Lewiston for which partygoers stood in their own separate but safe driveways, and a teacher-organized 90-minute parade in Newfane that got students yelling from their porches and front windows. Families whose homes were not along the route stood apart from other families and joined in on the fun.

Anna Merritt Elementary School hosted a parade of its own this week, and while it rained on Monday, the students' excitement to get out and holler at teachers driving by, with police and fire support, was not dampened.

"People still came out, they still were cheering," Principal Patricia McMahon said. "The kids were really appreciative; it was really cute."

McMahon gave credit for the spectacle to Anna Merritt's teachers and staff.

"My teachers brought it to me because some of them live in Newfane. That's why, when we first sent out our email, we gave a shout-out to Newfane teachers for the idea ... ."

Personnel from Lockport Police Department, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and local fire companies were invited to participate. McMahon said they were "all on board" immediately.

"They didn't give even a moment's hesitation," she said. "And we just took it from there, and it was really great."

In a YouTube video ( from the parade, students and their parents are seen sitting in cars along the route, while on porches, some students are holding hand-painted signs.

"It'll be an interesting piece to look back at in a few years, and as people mature and look back, I think it'll be interesting to talk to kids about it," McMahon said.

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