Most days, the staff at Brownstown Elementary School is all business and focused on educating students.
That results in them not finding much time to interact with their peers.
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On Monday night, though, an activity brought 15 of them together. While it was still about the kids, it was a time where they could relax and have a little fun.
They boarded a bus outside the school and made their way around town singing Christmas carols.
“Christmas is all about the kids,” Principal Chrystal Street said. “They are super-duper excited all of the time, and it’s just our way of giving back. Instead of the kids coming to us like they do every day, we can go to them.”
The first stop was the Brownstown Public Library. While no kids were in the building at the time, the library staff members enjoyed the carolers’ visit.
After the staff members sang “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” Street handed candy canes to the two library employees. Both of them thanked the group for coming by, and one said she would have those songs in her head the rest of the night.
On their way out, a library patron even sang a few notes to the group.
The group then headed to Country Apartments. As they sang outside part of the complex, a mother and her two children opened the door to their apartment. Immediately, the boy recognized his teacher, Cindy Koop, which made her night.
“They smile when they see people that they know,” Street said.
The mother told the group she appreciated them coming by to sing, and Street gave them candy canes.
The staff members then went to another part of the complex hoping to get more people’s attention. Just as they were planning to leave, a mother came outside carrying her baby, so they resumed singing.
“Then we just started singing loudly,” Street said. “It kind of gave us a purpose because we thought for a little bit there that nobody was listening to us, but they were. We might not be able to see them, but they heard us.”
The next stop was Village Apartments. Again, residents came out of the building as soon as the staff members headed back toward the bus, so they resumed singing.
“Thank y’all. Merry Christmas,” a woman told the group.
Jay C Food Store was the next stop. The group first lined both sides of the entrance to sing, and then they decided to step inside to serenade customers and employees near the checkouts. That drew some smiles.
Teacher MaryJane Steinkamp said that was her favorite part.
“Everybody seemed really happy,” she said.
Finally, the bus pulled in front of McDonald’s. Initially, the workers thought they were going to have to serve food to a busload of people.
“I loved their faces when we pulled up at McDonald’s,” said Natalie McGinnis, a secretary at the school.
Then the restaurant employees realized the staff members were there to sing Christmas carols. One of them got out his cellphone and recorded the moment, and a girl in the kitchen yelled “Thank you” as they left.
“I feel like we spread a little joy there,” McGinnis said. “I thought it was nice.”
Becky Crockett, a resource aide at the school, also enjoyed the night of caroling.
“We have a good time during the day, but we have to be really professional, so tonight, we could kind of let down our guard,” she said. “I thought it was awesome. I’m a singer, and so I love to carol for people, and they enjoy it.”
With the teachers being in different areas of the building during the day, Street said as an administrator, it is important to bring everyone together.
“There are a lot of times they don’t even get to see each other during the day, so this is a chance for us to connect,” she said. “I know we’re doing school stuff, but we’re not talking school. We’re laughing and having a good time.”