Before Dwight David Eisenhower became the thirty-fourth president of the United States, he was in command of the country’s military. What about the Minnesota elementary school named after Ike? A mother duck who takes his marching orders seriously makes him proud and continues a 20-year tradition.
Two decades ago, a female mallard decided that nesting in the enclosed schoolyard was a good idea, only that she had made a strategic mistake: there was no direct access to the nearby pond.
As it turned out, the only way to get their young – old enough to float but not yet able to fly – where they needed to be was to get through school.
Someone inside noticed that too and opened the door.
To everyone’s delight, Mama Duck quickly assembled her feathered brigade and led the hatchling straight through the hallways of the school to an exit on the pond side of the building. And thus an annual rite of passage was born.
With an office overlooking the courtyard, Library Media Specialist Jeff Shepherd enthusiastically volunteers for on-call duty as each new batch of baby ducks arrives.
“And as soon as they are born, I tell them, okay, everyone stay away; everyone be careful; Everybody look out, ‘”said the appropriately named pastor. KARE News 11.
This year, as amazed students and teachers watched from a respectful distance, Mama Duck led her 10 little soldiers from the safety of the nest to the freedom of the great and wide world.
“It’s a bit bittersweet because we love to watch them grow, but this is where they belong,” kindergarten teacher Betty Johnson told KARE.
Duck passing has become such a beloved ritual at Eisenhower, parents Brad and Laurie Gilmore created a children’s book to commemorate the annual event. Income from your Ducks in a row… Here we go! it will be used to keep the schoolyard in top condition for future generations of chicks.
A eggcool idea, don’t you think?
(LOOK the sweet show in the KARE News 11 video below.)
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