Supporters give Mesa schools ‘heart attacks’ The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Supporters give Mesa schools ‘heart attacks’

Supporters give Mesa schools ‘heart attacks’

By Zach Alvira
Tribune Staff Writer

A Mesa mother last week brought the community together to show appreciation for teachers, administrators and board members amid the struggles in the pandemic by launching a series of “heart attacks” at schools and a district office building.

But these “heart attacks” didn’t require paramedics. They comprised hundreds of paper hearts with messages of support that were taped around the entranceways of various schools.

Jenn Greer, whose son attends Marjorie Entz Elementary School, took to social media to drum up volunteers for the “heart attacking.”

She wanted students and parents at their respective schools to show their appreciation for the work teachers have done to help students during Mesa Public Schools’ first few weeks of remote learning.

The initiative quickly gained traction on social media over the weekend, with several hundred families taking part at several district schools.

The initiative drew praise from Governing Board President Elaine Miner, who told the Tribune she was heartened by the effort on two levels: the show of support for teachers and staff and the attempt to bring some unity to the district after weeks of sometimes heated debate between supporters and opponents of reopening campuses.

On Aug. 24, Greer and others gathered at the district office to show their appreciation for district officials and the Governing Board for their many hours of work on plans for reopening campuses once state and county health benchmarks favor it.

“I have my own opinion on the situation,” Greer said, “but I wanted to invite the community to make hearts to show our appreciation and support for the district. We want to show them we miss them.”

Greer said she doesn’t let her own opinions cloud her judgement about the district’s efforts.

Her “heart attacking” was inspired by Miner’s closing remarks at an Aug. 19 board meeting that called attention to the community divide over reopening and some of the harsh comments made on social media about teachers, administrators and board members.

“What I have seen happen in the last few weeks and months is a division,” Miner said. “It frightens me. It’s very disconcerting on many levels … We don’t want the parents to feel like the teachers are working against them to get back in school. We are dealing with a lot of challenges right now and going back to school is something that is in the normal.”

Greer said, “When I heard that message, I went to bed feeling frustrated because of my personal feelings wanting a decision to be made but I was also sad and felt humbled,” Greer said.

“We need to come together as a community and share love for our teachers and love for Mesa Public Schools,” she told the Tribune. “Actions speak louder than words.”

Last Monday, she traveled to six of the district’s schools and placed hearts on the buildings. Later that evening, she was joined by as many as 100 parents and children who did the same at the district office where board meetings typically take place.

Many of the colored hearts included heartfelt messages of support.

Greer said in the short time this initiative has been going on, she has already received several messages from teachers and board members thanking her for showing appreciation.

Greer said she hopes to continue “heart attacking” more schools across the district.

“This is about love,” Greer said. “When Elaine Miner, the president of the board shared her final thoughts, you can’t help but listen to her words and not hear what she’s saying. She’s human and it hurts.

“This is important to me as an individual that I can share my personal feelings and stand up for what I believe in, but I can also promote love. That’s more important.” ′

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