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Oro Valley parent makes cardboard cutouts of students to help make teacher smile

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ORO VALLEY, Ariz., (KVOA) - Online learning has been difficult for students. They would rather be inside the classroom with their friends and teachers. It has also been challenging for teachers, but it is not exactly from an academic standpoint.

Ms. Latin's classroom used to be full of smiles, laughter and noise. Now it is quiet and empty. As you can imagine, it has been very emotional not having her kids physically there in the classroom.

Susan Latin has been teaching for 27 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Copper Creek Elementary School.

"If you would have told me a year ago I would be teaching on Zoom. I would not have believed you," said Ms. Latin.

But now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom is the new classroom, which means some parents are also listening.

"I have been talking to the kids, they know I am a big UArizona basketball fan, and I had been talking about how it would be fun to be at the stadium and oh have you seen those cut-outs of the fans' faces," said Ms. Latin.

"She was telling me how down she was that we are going through this again. The kids are home again and she misses her kids," said parent Jackie McGuire.

So, McGuire came up with a plan.

"I printed, glued and cut."

With the help of staff at Copper Creek, she snuck into Ms. Latin's classroom.

"So I walked into this after the first full week of school and you can imagine my heart, it burst it was very emotional because this is hard," said Ms. Latin.

Ms. Latin showed News 4 Tucson the cardboard cutouts along with what each student is like.

"We have fantastic writers. Gracie is so so kind to others. Alyssa is the most kind and compassionate kid you have ever met. Just having this little positivity and their smiles greeting me in the morning. Now, I get to see them every day."

McGuire laughed and said, "I heard Ms. Latin say that the kids were not socially distanced and I heard one kid chime in, we do not have to be socially distant, it is just pictures."

Ms. Latin loves what she does and adores her students. She wishes they were here in person.

"It does not matter where we are. They are learning, growing and happy, so what else could you want?"

Ms. Latin has a special message for her students.

"Okay Latin's Learners, it is going to be a great day. You got this! You Matter! We can do hard things. We are in this together. You are awesome! I am so proud of you!"

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Allie Potter

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