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Sweet notes left for staff at Edmonton school: ‘Lots of missing you, lots of thanks’

Sweet notes left for staff at Edmonton school: ‘Lots of missing you, lots of thanks’
WATCH ABOVE: Teachers and students in Alberta are finding it pretty lonely not returning to classrooms together, but as Lisa MacGregor explains, some sweet messages of hope have lifted the spirits of staff at one south Edmonton school.

Teachers and students in Edmonton are finding it pretty lonely not returning to classrooms together. But some messages of hope are shining through, making this first week back to empty schools a little easier for teachers.

READ MORE: Edmonton students resume classes, but not at schools

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and family all over the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area.

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Dave Carels, Global News

Kathleen Eistetter, a Grade 5 teacher at the school, said she’s never experienced anything like it in her 30-year plus career.

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“I saw that the doors were covered with beautiful coloured hearts, with messages of love and joy from the children who are missing coming to their school everyday — it actually made me feel like crying,” Eistetter said.

“Lots of missing you, thinking about you. Lots of thanks.”

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Dave Carels, Global News

The feelings expressed on the notes are mutual for the staff at the school.

READ MORE: Alberta students, parents adjust to class work being done online

“I’m really missing the 350-plus boys and girls at St. Mary. It’s very lonely — a school is really just a building when the children aren’t there,” Eistetter said.

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Dave Carels, Global News

Now the classrooms at schools are empty and the connections between students and teachers are virtual. That’s why principal Marcel Evaristo says messages like the ones left on the doors mean that much more.

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“Whether we’re out on supervision, greeting students off the bus or at the end of the day, sending them off on the bus, we always get that interaction,” Evaristo said.

“So these messages are just that little piece of interaction that we’ve been missing for the last week here at school.

“We miss their presence here at our school, they do every single day bring us joy, they inspire us to be the best we can be as educators.”

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Dave Carels, Global News

READ MORE: Calgary school boards transition to online learning during COVID-19 pandemic

Students and staff are showing appreciation for what they had since it’s been gone.

“I think this is the silver lining, that we’re realizing how much the kids depend on the relationships with their classmates daily, and with their teachers,” Eistetter said.

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Educators and students now moving forward together, creating new routines online while still finding a way to personally say “thank you.”

Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and families on the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Dave Carels, Global News