THS students surprise teachers with parade in their honor

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Thompson High School teachers Deborah DeCroes, Renee Brown, Beth Ronilo and Paul Furman knew the school’s peer helpers were organizing a parade through the school’s hallways on the morning of April 28, but they didn’t know it was in their honor.

“This is a sweet surprise. I’m pretty shocked,” DeCroes said as she walked back to her classroom after the parade.

“We knew there was going to be a parade, but we didn’t know we were going to be a part of it,” Ronilo added.

After checking in to their homeroom classes, about 50 THS students staged in the school’s front lobby as they prepared to surprise the four teachers as part of “Dude. Be nice” week. Throughout the week, the school’s peer helpers group organized surprises for attendance employee Beth Eddings, custodian John King, the school’s lunchroom staff and retiring Assistant Principal Drew Warman.

To finish out the week, the peer helpers recruited the THS jazz band and cheerleaders as the group paraded through the hallways to a New Orleans-themed soundtrack while holding signs thanking the teachers. During the parade, many THS students lined the hallways to show their appreciation for the honorees.

Peer helpers sponsor and THS English teacher Beth House said she discovered the “Dude. Be nice” website a few months ago, and told the peer helpers about it. From there, the peer helpers worked for more than three months to plan the teacher surprises held this week.

“We didn’t do the presentations at the same time each day this week, which helped to keep it a surprise,” House said. “The kids organized everything, and it has been really fun, especially today.”

THS peer helper member Andrew Zow Jr. said he was excited to see the group’s plans come to fruition throughout “Dude. Be nice” week.

“We just wanted to recognize these teachers, because honestly, I do feel like they are underappreciated,” Zow said. “It was great to see so many people in the hallways cheering them on.”