Philomath Middle School educators interact with the rally's participants. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)
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Walking from school to school carrying signs and shouting “hip, hip hooray,” a group of locals young and old did their best early Friday afternoon to show appreciation for Philomath’s educators. The pandemic has taken a toll in many facets of day-to-day life and teachers or school staffers are not immune.

The Philomath Community Network, a group of nonprofits and other various organizations and entities, thought it would be a good idea to throw those educators a little love.

“The idea came up to show them a little appreciation just to make sure they know the community cared about them and we thought it’d be fun to do something right before the holiday break to just show a little bit of appreciation to all the teachers and staff — all educators,” said Chris Workman, Philomath’s city manager who is a part of the community network group.

Roughly 20 people showed up to participate — probably a smaller number than organizers wanted to see but they were an enthusiastic bunch. Many carried signs such as: “We love our school staff,” “Have a great winter break teachers,” “Yea Philomath: CPS, PES, PMS, PHS” and several with various forms of “Thank You!” Many were also carrying black and gold balloons.

Several school staff members greeted the traveling pep rally outside of their buildings and applauded them right back to express their gratitude.

The Philomath Community Network’s idea grew out of a conversation with one of its participants, Susan Halliday, superintendent of schools.

“We were talking about schools and the appreciation for what our staff is doing that’s been very different than it’s ever had to be in terms of turning on a dime with where COVID’s taken us,” Halliday said while mentioning the event at Thursday night’s School Board meeting.

Workman said Halliday provided the community network group with a few examples of some of the struggles that educators have been working through.

“It was just a nice home-grown kind of an idea to be able to really appreciate the work that people have been put in,” Halliday said. “I’m excited to be able to be a part of that and participate with others in our community to be able to really appreciate what our educators have been doing.”

Halliday said the rally was intended to show appreciation for all types of school staff — “Our teachers, our counselors, our classified staff, our administrators, everybody that works in any school in the district.”

The group organized at 12:30 in front of Philomath Elementary, walked up Applegate Street to Philomath High School and Philomath Academy, and then hit Clemens Primary School before wrapping it all up at Philomath Middle School.

“It’s nice and fun with all of the schools being close enough,” Workman said. “We could hit all of the schools in a half an hour or so, so it was great. And, it’s a beautiful, sunny day.”

Halliday said the rally was not able to visit Blodgett or Kings Valley but she wanted them to know that they are appreciated as much as the rest. has no paywall and to keep it that way, we rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you for contributing. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.