KEARNEY, NE — People in Kearney are showing their support for public schools one honk, one wave and one sign at a time.

“The idea was simply that we need to show the public schools we think they do a good job," Organizer Chuck Peek said. "The teachers, the students, the administrators and staff, and the librarians, and the coaches, and the counselors are doing their very best to provide the education.”

Peek and others had been thinking of holding support rallies since the pandemic started. Recent anti-public school rhetoric signaled to the group that now was the time to organize.

“While we can always make our schools better, we think it’s done through cooperation with the schools instead of antagonism to the schools or threatening the schools," Peek said. "We just wanted to be out and say ‘we like what you do and we support you and we thank you.’”

Tuesday’s gathering at Meadowlark Elementary is the group’s fifth rally. Former teacher Maxine Brass is happy to attend.

“I knew when I was teaching how I appreciated all the support I got from students, teachers, faculty, administration and the community," Brass said. "That’s why we’re out here today, to support Kearney Public Schools system.”

Others have joined in. People have taken pictures of the supporters, waved, said thank you… and on Tuesday, even dropped off a 40-pack of water on the side of the street.

“We get really good response…. we get the horn-honkers out there and that encourages you," Peek said. "My best encouragement, though, is when the kids come out and they see you and they give you a thumbs up or a thank you.”

Peek says the group is informal and strictly non-partisan. They hope to hold a support rally at every Kearney public school before winter sets in.

Peek says people can reach out to him on Facebook to get added to the notification list for future rallies.