It was graduation day on Wednesday, May 19, for the family of ducks in the Cedarville Elementary School courtyard, but they just weren’t ready to leave.
For the past 15 years, ducks have laid their eggs in the school’s courtyard in the spring, thus requiring an exit “parade” once the ducklings hatch and are big enough to care for themselves.
According to Cedarville Elementary School’s press release, the ducks are released to a nearby pond, with mother duck leading the way for her little ones through the school.
According to Cedarville Elementary School staff, the “duck parade” usually takes place once the ducklings are 3-4 weeks old, right before the students finish their last day of school.
Acting as “duck mommas” were second-grade teachers Julie Roberts and Jennifer Elrod.
The group included two batches of ducklings. Two abandoned ducklings hatched April 28. With the second batch of 11 hatching a week later on May 5, the teachers had hoped the mother duck of the second batch would adopt the two orphans, but that wasn’t the case.
Typically, students line the entire building, sitting in the hallways and on sidewalks as the mother leads the ducklings to a nearby pond. But with the sudden burst of cold weather, staff had to delay the ducks’ departure another week.
This time around, the mother duck flew to the roof. Then, despite cajoling the ducklings toward the courtyard doors, the mother duck still did not return.
“Well, we’ve never had mom go on the roof before,” Elrod said.
Without their leader, the ducklings ran from corner to corner of the courtyard, with six staff members including Principal Brad Bakle attempting to corral them.
Despite 15 minutes of attempts, it was clear the ducks would stay another day in the courtyard.
Bakle added this was the first time in more than a decade that attempts to move the ducklings from the courtyard had failed.
While staff and students were disappointed the parade didn’t go as planned, it was still an educational opportunity for second-graders and kindergarten students, who learned all about the life cycle of a duck as well as their care before and after the eggs hatched.