Teachers, administrators, friends, family, and students from Floyd Middle School rallied to send off their beloved Principal of 13 years into retirement with a surprise drive-thru parade at the school. Although preparations began as early as January for a big send-off in May, school closings changed all that. “Plan B” began in earnest, thanks to the coordination efforts of Floyd Reading Teacher Rashawana Smith.
Dr. Teresa Hargrett entered into official retirement on June 30th, 2020. With the help of stealthy family and staff members, Dr. Hargrett was at the school when, to her tear-filled amazement, dozens and dozens of decorated cars drove by with music blasting, horns honking, balloons, gifts, cards, and well-wishes.
Queenie White, Dr. Hargrett’s sister, was in on the planning of the surprise. She made the trip from North Carolina to be there and helped to play a part on getting Dr. Hargrett to the school on time, while the parade secretly lined up behind the building.
“Our family had thought about a parade,” Ms. White said, “and I reached out to FMS, I found out they had just started thinking about one also. Therefore we were able to work together to make it happen.”
“I was headed inside to return my laptop and keys,” said Dr. Hargrett, “when the first car came through blowing the horn and displaying a poster. More cars kept coming and I was so overwhelmed with emotion. It certainly was an honor that I will cherish for life.”
The organizer of the event, Rashawana Smith, was emotional after the event. “Our campus felt alive again with all the music, horn-honking, laughter, and of course, the happy tears!” she said joyfully.
“I’m humbled and count it a privilege to be connected to such a beautiful, kind, and strong woman who used her love for education to impact not only countless children, but adults,” Ms. Smith continued. “She taught us how to approach situations with class and professionalism. Her lessons reach far beyond her words and her influence will live on through us.”