TILGHMAN — A surprise parade complete with bagpipes, student musical performances and gifts showered Tilghman Elementary School’s retiring principal on Tuesday afternoon.
Joyce Crow has worked more than 40 years in education, all through Talbot County Public Schools. Starting out at Tilghman Elementary, Crow was an instructional assistant, and later on became a certified teacher for fourth grade before taking on principal. Through the years, Crow has worked as a teaching principal, assisting teachers in a rotation when school enrollment was low and staff was relocated due to increased enrollment elsewhere.
“I was totally, totally surprised. It’s overwhelming, it’s so neat to see some of the people from the past,” Crow said. “It’s just a bittersweet moment to realize it’s finally actually happening.”
She walked into the school’s gymnasium on Tuesday afternoon to discover students, families, friends and co-workers awaiting her with a “Happy Trails” party.
“I have been in education for 40+ years as have you,” said Dr. Jay Shotel, Tilghman Area Youth Association vice president. “Because of you this school is a happy place.”
Shotel presented Crow with a gift on behalf of the association. It was a painting of Tilghman Elementary School.
“It is an incredible honor to be here today on this fantastic occasion; we’ve all been touched by a legend, Mrs. Crow,” said Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot. He presented her with a citation from the Maryland General Assembly.
“She’s touched so many lives while she’s been here at Tilghman,” Mautz said. He led the students in a hip-hip-hooray cheer for Crow.
Lindsay Grow, Tilghman Elementary second grade teacher, gave Crow a rainbow drawing signed by students, reading “Thanks for making our school a brighter place.”
Fifth grade students then took the stage and performed a song to the tune of “Riptide,” called “Our Way to Say Goodbye.” The song was under direction of Maura Thompson, Tilghman Elementary music teacher.
All students then joined the stage to sing “Happy Trails” by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and also “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles.
Tilghman staff then played a video showing students, teachers and coworkers expressing gratitude for the retiring principal and lessons they had learned from her.
When Crow exited the stage, students surrounded her and embraced her.
The entire crowd then filed outside and lined the parking lot as Joyce Crow and her husband, Robert Crow, walked through the parade as bagpipes played.