The emotions were pretty heavy at times outside McKinley STEM School in Owatonna. Car after car paraded by the school for a "Cruise-Thru" Tuesday, April 21. Teachers stood along the sidewalk with proper social distancing between them. Principal Justin Kiel said, "At first, we thought the idea was to bring some happiness to the students; however, our staff needed it just as much."

Owatonna Schools Superintendent Jeff Elstad tweeted, "Okay now I am a puddle of tears. Seeing our kids and families tonight filled my cup. We (heart) our Owatonna families."

Kiel said the idea came up in a principals' group as a way "to connect with kids." He said many ideas have included a parade. "We changed the format to bring kids back to school. I think many needed to see us at the building too...It was a great time."

Nearly 200 vehicles drove through, "We had traffic backed up for blocks - crazy."

Kiel heard great comments from families - "We were crying the whole time," "What a mix of emotions," "This was just what my child needed," and "My child felt like a celebrity."

McKinley School Cruise Thru


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