Neighbors gather to say Pledge, give kids sense of school routine

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Kettering families step outside to say Pledge of Allegiance

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

For families in the 300 block of Lewiston Road, it’s about creating a little sense of a normal school routine.

About two dozen kids and adults are coming out to their sidewalks in Kettering each morning at 9 a.m., turning toward an American flag — held Tuesday morning by second-grader Juliette Stamper — and saying the Pledge of Allegiance together, as the kids normally would at school.

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At 39 degrees, it was a little chillier setting than a classroom would have been, but there were smiles all around.

“I had heard about the idea and I thought that would be a great way to kick-start our e-learning on Monday,” Jennifer Stamper said. “I sent out a message over the weekend to the whole neighborhood and said … we’re going to try to embrace our new normal.”

The new normal, with many people working or studying from home, meant Tuesday’s 9 a.m. crowd included a wide range of ages, with people in everything from dress pants to yoga pants to pajama pants — plus a dog in a sweater.

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Juliette Stamper and her brother Zach attend Kettering’s Orchard Park Elementary School, and like students in most area school districts, they’re doing online lessons. For Kettering students, that began Monday after a two-week interruption — spring break plus a week for the school district to put the plan together.

Juliette said the two weeks away from school and friends were “really, really hard.” She mentioned waking up late, and being patient — her mom fit in arts and crafts and going for walks around the work she had to do.

Zach, a fourth-grader, said coming out to say the Pledge of Allegiance with friends is another way to stay connected.

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Jennifer Stamper said the neighborhood kids have been playing together in ways that respect social distancing guidelines — kicking balls to each other across the street or driving their remote-controlled cars. She seemed determined to keep a positive attitude.

“We’re going to do this and it’s going to be great,” she said. “We’re going to figure it out as we go.”

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