Parking lot party for retiring Potter principal Heidi Brooks

Jun 15, 2020

Have you ever seen a socially distanced conga line? How about a socially distanced conga line where everyone is wearing curly yellow wigs?

Those who passed the Dartmouth High School on Monday afternoon may have come across such a sight, as teachers and staff from Potter Elementary showed up in droves to celebrate Principal Heidi Brooks’ retirement with a parade and dance party.

Brooks — who arrived in a tiara and sash — was greeted at the high school parking lot by balloons, family, and a DJ as carload after carload of teachers and friends in wigs and fake glasses drove past.

“I love the wigs!” Brooks exclaimed. 

Many partygoers cheered, waved, blew vuvuzelas, and handed Brooks signs, messages, and gifts through the car windows before parking and getting out for the dance party portion of the celebration.

One guest even threw a bouquet of flowers out of the car as onlookers cheered and laughed.

Over the course of the past week, signs for Brooks with messages of thanks and love have been put up in front of Potter School by students, families, and coworkers.

“How fortunate I’ve been to work with Heidi,” commented teaching assistant Jennifer Rouillard, a sentiment echoed by everyone at the party.

Potter school social worker Carrie Gregoire said that working with Brooks has been “amazing.”

“She’s very supportive,” Gregoire added. 

As for the end of her 36-year career at the Dartmouth Public Schools, Brooks said, “It’s gone by so fast.”

Over the previous week, she had said goodbye to many of her students at graduation celebrations for preschoolers and fifth graders, and even joined virtual classrooms to say goodbye to as many kids as possible.

“Last week I zoomed with 19 different classes,” she noted. “The kids all did different things — some drew me pictures, others gave advice on what to do and what not to do during my retirement.”

Her favorite piece of advice, she said, was an idea for her to get a convertible and go on vacation.

As for the celebration, she said, “This is fabulous.”

“Potter is a party,” said Brooks. “It’s wonderful to see everybody.”

“It’s hysterical to see everyone in blonde curls,” she added. “They look great!”