At Remynse Elementary, they don’t welcome students to a new school year with merely a hearty and warm embrace at the front door.
They throw a parade.
Instead of heading for their morning classes on the first Friday of the new academic year, students are asked to line up around the school to watch this unique tradition called the Welcome Back to School Car Parade.
“They love it,” Remynse counselor Monique Simmons said. “It’s so much fun for them and really does serve as a kind of, ‘Let’s get motivated for the school year,’ and to cheer them on and encourage them.”
Led by the Grand Prairie Police Department and officer Adrian Gilmore, 18 vehicles – cars, trucks, vans, fire trucks, and even some antique cars and motorcycles – move slowly around the school twice, honking horns with people waving from inside the vehicles.
Who’s waving? Police officers, neighborhood business owners, and even some teachers and parents who want to participate.
“We actually encourage parents to participate in this and tell them to decorate their car with their children,” Simmons said. “Decorating the car makes it into a fun family event.”
Some teachers, teacher spouses and even school administration participate. They decorate with balloons and carry posters. Police turn on their sirens.
“We do it first thing in the morning, which gives everyone time to get settled in their classrooms,” Simmons said. “Plus it’s a good time for parents to participate because they are already there dropping off their kids.”