Provo Teacher’s Presence Brings Deeper Purpose To Parade

Apr 22, 2020, 10:57 PM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 11:16 pm

PROVO, Utah — Everyone would have understood if she wasn’t able to make it, but one teacher in Utah County was determined to send an important message to her students when her school planned a parade.

Just after lunchtime Wednesday, cars began to line up in the parking lot of Rock Canyon Elementary School.

Balloons and signs were everywhere.

“We miss you bunches,” read the message on one windshield.

“There are 101 reasons why we miss you!” said the side of an SUV.

It was the unlikeliest of ‘faculty meetings’ — a socially-distanced parade in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic to let students know they were loved.

“We miss them terribly,” said principal Seth Hansen. “We felt like this would be a good way to reach out to our kids and stay connected with them.”

Hansen said 27 teachers and administrators took part in the parade.

The route curved through neighborhoods within the school’s boundaries.

Though numerous students came out to their curbs and lawns long in advance, perhaps nobody had been anticipating the parade more than 6th Grade teacher Wendi Pancake.

“I haven’t been out of the house in a long time, and it’s really nice to get out of the house,” Pancake said.

Pancake was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, and started chemotherapy on Mar. 12.

She said she was glad the school picked a date when she was feeling well.

“I wish circumstances were different, but this is what we have to deal with,” Pancake said. “I guess I just want people to know I’m determined, that I’m here for their kids.”

Several of Pancake’s students and former students were there to wish her well.

“It was really good to see her again,” said current student Kate Colton. “She really cares about her kids in her class.”

Parent Collin Hayward was unaware of Pancake’s cancer battle, and said he was moved by the fact she participated in the parade.

“She is so awesome,” Hayward said.

Hansen said Pancake is well-liked, and has high expectations for all of her students.

“It’s really meaningful, I think, for her, but as well for all of her students and all of us to know that she’s still going to be here with us,” Hansen said. “She’s great — just a phenomenal teacher, just love having her as part of our faculty.”

In addition to teachers, police joined the parade, as well as BYU mascot Cosmo.

Librarian Letty Meibos said she was also excited to see the kids, some of whom she still reads stories to virtually via the internet.

“I don’t get to see them personally looking back at me, but I am keeping up stories that we were already in process of before the break,” Meibos said. “I’m really happy to see the kids!”

After the parade, Pancake said she enjoyed sharing a moment of connection with students.

“It was so nice to see the kids!” Pancake said. “I miss them so, so much!”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus: Stronger Together

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 months ago
Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...
Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.
4 months ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
6 months ago
The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19...
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Hospital ceremony honors survivors, healthcare heroes as U.S. hits one million COVID-19 deaths

The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19, those who survived it, and the caregivers and healthcare workers who cared for the sick.
6 months ago
Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Utah County couple gives Minky Couture blankets to medical team at Utah Valley Hospital

Russell Greene doesn't call himself a COVID-19 survivor, he calls himself a COVID-19 miracle. His family thanked medical workers for saving his life.
9 months ago
Salt Lake City's streets were deserted in the early days of the pandemic. (KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

A reporter looks back on two years of pandemic in Utah

Two years ago on March 11, 2020, the world changed for many Americans as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Today, things are slowly getting back to normal. 
9 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Provo Teacher’s Presence Brings Deeper Purpose To Parade