Five women sit in a dimly lit room while masseuses work out the kinks in their shoulders and arms. Gentle flute music floats through the room while cucumber water and muffins sit on a table for guests to enjoy. Suddenly a child’s excited shriek pierces the air from the gym next door. Two of the women look at each other knowingly.
“Better screaming than crying,” one said, prompting a chuckle from another.
This was the scene at J. Blaine Blayton Elementary School’s massage day, put on Thursday as part of teacher appreciation week.
J. B. Blayton’s Parent Teacher Association vice president, Connie Viscony, said the massages were available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so every teacher who wanted one could get one. The sessions were a half hour each and almost every slot was taken, according to Viscony.
The idea was suggested by school Principal Amy Stamm.
“Amy wanted to make sure teachers had some down time to relax, which they don’t get a lot,” Viscony said.
“Its great that teacher appreciation week is a week before SOLs, because that is when they need it most,” Shannon Rickert, president of J.B. Blayton’s PTA said.
Rickert went on to say the teachers at the school go above and beyond their classroom duties to show their students they care.
“We have had teachers show up to our kid’s sports games and extracurriculars more years than not,” Viscony said. “J. B. Blayton is a happy place to be.”
Students from the American Spirit Institute volunteered to give massages all day, for free.
“They have been the kindest, most gracious group to work with,” Viscony said.
Meghan Gurley, one of the volunteering masseuses, said she ran into a librarian she knew when she was a student at Stone House Elementary School. Gurley said after all these years, the librarian still recognized her when she told her her name.
“It’s been very fun talking (to the teachers), it’s been a throwback,” Gurley said.
Over at Matoaka Elementary School, their PTA members were working up a sweat washing teacher’s cars in the midday heat.
“I just wanted to thank you all,” a teacher yells out of her newly washed car, her smile as bright as the hood of her cherry red Toyota. The PTA volunteers smile and wave before going back to scrubbing other cars.
Quinn said she got the idea to hold a car wash from her best friend, who is a teacher in Chesapeake.
“I asked her what the best thing she ever had done for her for teacher appreciation week and she said getting her car washed,” Quinn said. “We’ve fed (the teachers) all week so we’re taking a break and giving them a service.”
Teachers were able to sign up to have their car washed online. Karen Quinlan, a member of the PTA, said the group had washed about 25 cars that day.
Also at Matoaka, PTA members decorated teachers doors with minions, Reese’s Pieces and other colorful imagery. Even the door to the nurse’s office and the gym doors were decorated with motivational phrases.
“You’re one in a minion,” read a crape paper covered door dressed up like a Minion from the movie “Despicable Me.”
Amelia Heymann can be reached by email at email@example.com, or on twitter @HeymannAmelia.