Piedmont pride on parade

Piedmont Elementary teachers, staff, families — and a police car and fire truck — mark the end of the school year.

Jamie Berg and daughter Paitynn, 7, wave to a passing teacher during Friday’s Panther Pride Parade of teachers and other staff from Piedmont Elementary in Duluth. (Steve Kuchera /

It takes more than a pandemic to dim Piedmont Elementary’s Panther Pride.

The school’s staff showed up en masse Friday to say goodbye to students for the summer with a Panther Pride Parade around the Piedmont and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.

Spectators along North 27th Avenue West in Duluth wave to staff from Piedmont Elementary on Friday. In addition to the school bus, more than 30 personal vehicles, a firetruck and police squad car took part. (Steve Kuchera /

Along the route, parade participants riding in a school bus and more than 30 decorated personal vehicles (joined by a firetruck and police squad) waved and greeted students, parents and grandparents.


“This is our way of saying, ‘We’re here, we love you, and we’ll always be here for you,’” said Jake Laurent, Piedmont dean of students and parade organizer.

Piedmont Elementary third-grade teacher Erin Haney waves from a vehicle in Friday’s Panther Pride Parade. (Steve Kuchera /

Piedmont’s 450 K-5 students and 100 preschoolers haven’t been in the school since COVID-19 precautions closed it down in March.

Driving a convertible decorated with balloons, pinwheels and ribbons was first-grade teacher Heidi Owens.

“Anything for the children,” she said as she and daughter Grace decorated the car before the parade. “After all they’ve been through this year, this is the very least we can do to close out the year in a special way.”


Piedmont Elementary first grade teacher Heidi Owens (left) and daughter Grace Owens decorate the car they used Friday. (Steve Kuchera /

Steve Kuchera is a retired Duluth News Tribune photographer.
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