Retirement parties are a bit different these days, as Donna DeCarlo and Susan Vandewater learned the heartwarming way.

The teachers at Franklin Elementary School in Bethel Park were greeted by a parade of dozens of vehicles full of well-wishers, from students and their families to a Bethel Park Volunteer Fire Company contingent, including some spectacularly sized fire engines.

Late in the afternoon of May 16 – a threat of rain the following day moved the event 24 hours forward – the vehicles gathered at South Hills Church of the Nazarene before proceeding to DeCarlo’s nearby home.

There, she and Vandewater watched, waved and extended thanks as everyone streamed by, many of the participants displaying signs of gratitude and affection.

Franklin health and physical education teacher DeCarlo has spent 30 years in Bethel Park School District and third-grade teacher Vandewater, 21.