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Christmas celebration becomes a parade

Before the pandemic, some teachers and students in Luzerne County say Christmastime was a lot of fun. With virtually learning it's a lot different.

PITTSTON, Pa. — There was a lot of activity in the parking lot of the Martin L. Mattei Middle School in Hughestown. Classrooms have been empty since March because of the pandemic, but teachers and staff didn't want the holidays to go by without doing something special for the students.

"They were looking for a way that, how could we still let them see us and have it be socially distanced and let them know that we're thinking of them? So they organized an event like this in the springtime," said Principal Patrick Bilbow.

That parade went so well that they wanted to do it again, except this time, they were able to pull Santa away from his busy schedule to take part in the Christmas parade.

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"It was a lot of fun, you know, telling the kids about it, and they're like, 'Are you coming here? Are you coming on my street?' I was even telling my family members, and so they're going to be out, you know, with my little nieces watching," said teacher Angie Zaledonis.

The parade went throughout the Pittston Area School district from middle school, going through Hughestown, Duryea, Dupont, Avoca, Jenkins Township, Pittston, and Pittston Township.

Students and families who didn't live on the parade route were invited to come to a parking lot off the Pittston Bypass at the Pittston Commons to participate in the parade.

"I saw my favorite teacher, Miss DeOrio, and I got really excited. I also saw my other teacher, Miss Liuzzo, who I haven't seen in a while. I saw Miss Pavalonis. I saw Miss Cabrera, Miss Brogan. I saw a bunch of my teachers that I really missed, so I really liked it," said seventh-grader Abigail Policare.

She says she missed the holiday traditions inside the classroom this year and was happy the teachers found an alternative to carry on the celebration.

"I thought it was a really cute idea because we don't get to see our teachers only on the screen, and it was a cute idea. We always have something to do for Christmas every year, so this year we just had a parade."