Don't drink the water.
That’s the running joke among teachers and administrators at the 840-student Royalview Elementary School in Willowick, Ohio.
Three of the school’s teachers recently found themselves together at LakeWest Hospital, where they all gave birth on April 20. Angel Patrick, a 1st grade teacher; Heather Kiggins, who teaches 2nd grade; and 3rd grade teacher Laura Parsons delivered within a few hours of one another.
"We knew we might have the babies at the same hospital, but not on the same day," Ms. Patrick told The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
Ms. Kiggins also told the newspaper that the trio had joked about the possibility of delivering at the same time, but had never expected their speculation to come true because their due dates were weeks apart.
Adding to the excitement, Courtney Zappola, a kindergarten teacher at Royalview, followed suit the next day when she gave birth. Among the four teachers, two boys and two girls were born.
"It’s definitely in the water," said Assistant Principal Kerry Bowers, who gave birth to twins last year. "All of us who are done having kids are on bottled water."
But while administrators are taking care to avoid drinking fountains, the students are taking it all in stride. The school set up an eraser board listing the teachers who were at the hospital to keep everyone apprised of their conditions.
By the time the third and fourth delivery announcements were made, "it was just comical," said Ms. Bowers, recalling the classroom excitement. "The kids think it’s great."
Ms. Bowers said that while all four teachers would be on maternity leave until the fall, classes would not be affected. The school has had substitutes—many of whom were selected by the expectant teachers—lined up for nearly two months.
After all, the faculty is accustomed to making such plans: Over the past two years, the school’s teachers have had 16 pregnancies.
"We were laughing because we got media coverage for this, but it wasn’t for anything educational," said Ms. Bowers.
The local reporters who interviewed the school staff also made news: in response to their questions, two more teachers announced that they also are expecting babies.
—Marianne D. Hurst
Vol. 23, Issue 34, Page 3Published in Print: May 5, 2004, as Take Note