The countdown is on for summer break in Billings as public school students get out Friday, June 3.
After two years of pandemic-style learning, community members and the Billings Education Foundation are showering educators with appreciation.
It's a send-off like none other for Billings School District 2 teachers as each is getting sent home with a special gift. That's right- 2,088 special gifts for 2,088 special teachers.
On the last week of school, dozens of volunteers and the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools joined forces. They showed up at all 33 schools to hand-deliver educator appreciation gifts.
"Everybody needs a stress ball, and then snacks. And one of the coolest things- City Vineyard donated a $5 gift card so people can use this to go get themselves a snack or a cold beverage from City Vineyard. So we thank them. One of our students made this really cute little thank you educator photo," said Kelly Edwards, teacher appreciation volunteer, during a stop at Poly Drive Elementary School.
"I really hope our teachers are able to regenerate this summer, rest, recuperate and go into it knowing that we are just so grateful for the work they do. They aren't just teaching our kids, they are pouring into them, helping them become the humans they are going to be, and we're just eternally grateful for that," added Poly Drive third-grade teacher Linda Frey.
Frey added that teachers' top priority this year has been to return a sense of normalcy following two years of COVID.
"After two years of nothing feeling normal, trying to bring some normalcy back has been our number one priority this year, and to feel from parents
"(It) feels even better to know that (parents) appreciate it as much as all the love we pour into the kids to try to make them feel like life is normal here. As much as it's been hard the last couple of years," she said.
Her class seemed to appreciate her efforts.
"We love you Ms. Frey. Ms. Frey is the best," the class chanted.