Heltonville Elementary Staff Use Parade To Say Goodbye And Embrace Future

(HELTONVILLE) – On Monday evening, school teachers, school bus drivers, D.A.R.E officer Tim Butcher and other staff members of Heltonville Elementary School greeted students during a parade to say their final goodbyes. Heltonville Elementary will be closing due to North Lawrence Community School Corporation’s consolidation plans.

Heltonville School bus drivers lead a parade past the Heltonville Ball Park to wave to waiting students.
Audio: Heltonville Elementary School Principal Connie McDaniel

“We miss our kids so much, so we are excited to get out to visit all of our students,” Heltonville Elementary School Principal Connie McDaniel stated Monday night.

Drew Bailey, Kindergarten Aide at Heltonville School, waves to students on Diamond Road in Heltonville on Monday night

Around 6:00 p.m. the school buses departed the school to greet students waiting at the Heltonville Ball Field. The drivers then proceeded on to meet and greet students along the bus routes throughout Pleasant Run Township.

Students line up along the Heltonville Ballpark Monday night to meet the staff of Heltonville School

Many of the students were filled with excitement to see staff members since schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six year Heltonville Title I Aide Cheryl Littell decorates her vehicle before heading out Monday evening for the parade.

COVID-19 has altered students’ school years. More than 37 of those students attended Monday’s event.

Sandra Barlett was librarian at Heltonville School for 33-years and waits in a van to greet students that she missed so much over the last several weeks.

“Change is hard. Heltonville is a family. It is close-knit; I went through some old yearbooks and there were several who attended Heltonville over the years,” said Sandra Bartlett who has been a librarian at Heltonville for more than 33 years.

Students and parents greet staff as they pass by on Diamond Road in Heltonville

Kyle Bartlett chimed in saying, “They are taking away our community.”

Audio: First/Second Grade Teacher Crystal Fisher
D.A.R.E. Officer Tim Butcher passes by on Diamond Road waving at the students

First and Second Grade Teacher Crystal Fisher commented, “This is a sad day as they will be closing the school. But, we are excited about seeing most of our students next year at Shawswick.”

Audio: Six year Heltonville Title I Aide Cheryl Littell

“We hate how the year ended for them this year, but they are going to go on and do great things at Shawswick next year,” said Heltonville Title I Aide Cheryl Littell.

D.A.R.E. Officer Tim Butcher joins in the parade at Heltonville Elementary

While waiting for the staff to come by her house, Claudette Jackson, a 19-year business educator at North Lawrence Community Schools, reflected on being a teacher at Heltonville High School.

Claudette Jackson was a teacher at Heltonville High School from 1968-1974. She taught business education before the consolidation in 1974.

“I taught from 1968 until 1974 at Heltonville before the consolidation. This is very sad for the community. The first took our high school away. Then, the sixth graders, and now we are where we are at. This will have such a negative effect on our community,” Claudette Jackson concluded.

Tankston and Tinsley Smith hold up their signs as the Heltonville Staff passes by

Around 7:30 p.m. the parade made its way past Diamond Road and headed into Heltonville where they were greeted by Tankston Smith and Tinsley Smith, who is a second-grader at Heltonville. Both were excited to see the teachers pass by.