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Molly Thurlow, 5, marches in St. Anne’s School parade founded by her grandmother

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Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:34 am, Thu Apr 5, 2012.

Morning prayers were over. The pledge of allegiance had been chanted. It was finally time for the patient and excited kindergartners of St. Anne's School to begin the annual Easter bonnet parade.

Twenty-one boys and girls lined up in their school uniforms, their decorated hats secured with long ribbons. Each one was decked out with a creative combination of feathers, plastic eggs, Easter grass and bunny ears. One little girl constructed a whole birdhouse for her bonnet.

One boy's hat had tractors, another had firefighters, and another still designed his to look like a duck hunting blind, complete with a hunting dog on top.

Before they could begin, a special surprise was in store for language arts teacher Claudia Hegwer.

She was called to the front of the assembly, where her granddaughter Molly Thurlow, 5, presented her with a carefully decorated bonnet.

Deborah Thurlow giggled to see her mother, Hegwer, so surprised.

"I pulled it off!" she said. "We've been hiding this whole thing at our house for weeks."

Molly Thurlow took her grandma's hand and led the parade of bonnets through the lines of classmates in the courtyard. The parade lasted just a few minutes, but created big smiles.

Thurlow and kindergarten teacher Lisa Lucchesi planned the surprise to honor Hegwer's dedication to the school. This year's parade marked a third generation of Hegwer's family attending St. Anne's.

Hegwer began the Easter bonnet tradition 44 years ago, when she was in her third year of teaching at St. Anne's. She came across an Easter craft idea in Sunset magazine and thought it would be cute to bring it to school. Her class and others after it create the hats in school, then send them home for decorating.

She didn't expect it to become such a tradition, but kids remember their own bonnet parade and look forward to the kindergarten show, she said.

"As long as people care about it, it will continue on," said Hegwer.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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