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Breakfast treat turns to heartfelt reunion for Fleming Island teachers

Paterson Elementary School volunteers and students honor their faculty, staff

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – Teachers and faculty at Paterson Elementary School in Fleming Island got a drive-thru treat Tuesday morning in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Students and volunteers with the Parent Faculty Association teamed up to publicly thank the school’s more than 120 teachers by handing out a free breakfast -- that turned into a heartfelt mini-reunion.

For the first time in what feels like a long time, the teachers and staff got a chance to see their colleagues and students.

“I never thought I’d see my children say, ‘I miss school. I want to go up to school,’" parent Dixie Punsky said. "They say every day, ‘I miss them, I want to see their faces.’”

Punsky is a volunteer with the school’s Parent Faculty Association. Armed with homemade signs and a free Chick-fil-A breakfast, she and her fellow parents teamed up with the administration to thank the school’s more than 120 teachers.

“We love these teachers and miss them so much," Punsky said. "We thought it was really important to honor their work not only all year long but the extraordinary things they’ve done with distance learning.”

Principal John O’Brian said even though it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, one of the goals is for teachers to know they’re valued all year long.

“We really do love them, and they know that, and they feel that," O’Brian said. "They miss coming to work because many of us spend just as much time at work as we do at home.”

Even though distance learning is in place, the goal was to let these teachers know their students and their parents are patiently waiting to see them again in the classroom


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