Students and parents of Joshua Cowell Elementary School waited patiently Friday in front of the Manteca Unified campus located at 740 Pestana Ave.
They were there for the motorcade of teachers and staff of the school – many of the youngsters made hand-held signs to deliver their message of thanks or missing-you along the attendance area just east of Highway 99, along Pestana between East Yosemite Avenue and the better part of East Louise Avenue.
Kindergarten teacher Tina Hughes came up with the idea of the school parade. “I saw it on Facebook,” she said.
The Joshua Cowell teachers and staff met at the vacant In-Shape Health Clubs – like the Manteca Unified campuses, the gym was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – parking lot.
Included was Machelle Hathaway and her husband Mark, who is a fire fighter engineer in San Jose. He brought along his very own fire truck purchased in an auction, anchoring the parade by occasionally sounding out the horns.
Machelle Hathaway is a School Site Assistant. The Hathaways – their son, Matthew, who is a student at Manteca High, also helped out – posted several signs on the fire truck, including “JC Cougars Rock.”
The parade route made a special loop through the Sandpiper Village.
“We have students who live there,” said Hughes, who made special arrangements with management of the Manteca apartment complex beforehand.
Most lined up Pestana Avenue, from the front of the school to the adjacent park, waving and catching the attention of those on the motorcade route while using social distancing.
“We’ve really missed our students,” said Hughes, who is getting ready to go online next week for distance learning.