WASILLA — Iditarod Elementary School teachers and staff recently held a drive-thru parade at the school, offering students and their families a socially distant but heartfelt face to face interaction with free pizza.

“We just want to take a load off for one night. Dinner’s on us,” Iditarod principal Brian Porcello said.

Thanks to federal funds, the school was able to hand out 400 boxes of pizza from Dominos May 14.

Porcello said this community connection was made possible through the faculty’s efforts and connections to community partners like Dominos and community members like the students and their families.

Every student registered at Iditarod qualified for a free pizza to take home with their families. Vehicle after vehicle pulled into the school parking lot.

Porcello said it was fairly steady throughout the day. He noted that they also delivered pizzas to homebound families.

Iditarod faculty members wore masks and gloves while they stood at the edge of the parking lot near tables of pizza and activity booklets. As each family pulled in, the teachers’ eyes lit up and cheered. They waved at their students saying things like, “we miss you.”

The kids were equally excited and many requested certain teachers by name as they rolled in. Kindergarten assistant Sylvia Green was teary eyed toward the end of the parade. She said it’s been really hard not being able to see the students and they even had to cancel their field trips.

“We miss out on so much,” Green said.

Green said it felt great to see them but it was bittersweet because it was just for a moment and they couldn’t go up and hug anyone. She said that even though they’re faces were covered up, they all couldn’t help but smile.

“Best we can do is say we miss them,” Green said.

Iditarod is holding another event at the school May 21 called Bubbles and Popsicles. As the name implies, there will be bubble blowing and free popsicles. The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m. and serves as one last goodbye to the students before summer vacation.

Fore more information, visit matsuk12.us/ide.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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