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Parade raises Christmas cheer

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Destiny Phillips, center, reacts after passing out candy Friday during the third annual Christmas Parade at West Edgecombe Middle School.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Students at West Edgecombe Middle School made their own Christmas magic on Friday as they staged a Christmas parade before they left for the holidays.

This is the third year of the now annual West Edgecombe Christmas Parade, a tradition that started when Claude Archer became principal.

“We realized that many students never have the opportunity to see a parade, so we decided to hold one ourselves,” Archer said. “The kids love it.”

The parade had a few new features this year. The sale of cotton candy, popcorn and cups of hot chocolate, which almost completely sold out, was one new element.

Another was the inclusion of members of the school’s drama club, who came dressed as their characters from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” a play they have presented many times over the past few days under the direction of Kadeidra Badejo, a teacher at the school.

The parade drew in the participation of students of all ages. Students from the Rocky Mount High School Band took part in the parade, and students from G.W. Bulluck Elementary School joined in the festivities.

“The parade was not only a way for students to celebrate, it was a way for them to connect with their siblings and other students of all ages,” Badejo said.

A few middle-school students dressed as elves entertained the crowd led by Shawna Andrews, who serves in the Edgecombe County Public Schools Central Office as director of middle schools and, apparently, head elf.

“We are going around handing out candy, gifts and a little mischief,” Andrews said.

Destiny Phillips, 13, said she has been looking forward to her stint as an elf.

“I volunteered for this because it is fun,” she said.

This year’s parade was bigger and better than ever, said Meagan Sykes, the exceptional children’s teachers at the school, who organized the parade with the help of business education teachers Angela Atkinson and others at the school. More than 30 vehicles took part in the parade, ranging from pony carts to motorcycles. Fire trucks and sheriff’s cars took their part as well.

“The parade is also a way to connect with the community. The support for this event from the community and school superintendent speaks volumes,” Archer said.

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