Helpers on parade

'Community Helper Week' at Cullman Primary School becomes parade for 2020

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Cullman Primary School students wave and cheer for local community helpers as part of a Community Helpers Week parade, where they learned about the roles everyone from Cullman Police to the local fire departments play in Cullman. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – It’s an annual tradition for Cullman Primary School students to meet and learn about “community helpers” across the Cullman area, teaching young students about the important roles everyone from police to postal workers play in their daily lives. But with coronavirus safety precautions making it hard for visitors to come to local schools, local leaders got creative for the 2020 edition of Community Helper Week.

Instead of meeting with those community helpers one-on-one or in the classroom, this year’s curriculum was turned into a full-on outdoor parade. It allowed for social distancing, and a fun display for students. Vehicles included those from Cullman EMS, the Cullman Police Department, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, City road department and sanitation, the Cullman Electric Cooperative, Cullman Fire Rescue and Cullman Post Office, along with the Cullman City Schools bus. Students even had an opportunity to write letters and mail them via the local postal service.

“Learning about our community helpers is part of our early childhood curriculum. This community helpers parade was such a success this year and generated so much excitement from our students, that we may have this parade every year,” Cullman City Primary School Principal Tricia Culpepper said. “Sometimes, when faced with a challenge like schools are this year, you come up with even better ideas — and this definitely was the case for Community Helper Week.”

The event is a creative way for students to learn about the myriad people who serve the community in important and critical roles. So, to make sure students understand what each community helper does, videos were made of several of them at work explaining their jobs, and those videos were shown to the classes. All that learning culminated with the parade, which came together thanks to the help of the community at large, said Parent Family Community Engagement Managers Erika Lee and Marci Watts.

“We knew we had to think outside the box to make this happen,” Lee said.

“We are so fortunate to have a community that supports our school and helps us to make activities possible during this time,” Watts added.

Cullman Primary School students wave and cheer for local community helpers as part of a Community Helpers Week parade, where they learned about the roles everyone from Cullman Police to the local fire departments play in Cullman. (Cullman City Schools)