While not without opponents, those gathering to rally locally have seen significant community support and morale seems high.

MIAMI – The Miami community has been pouring out support to local teachers who have been lining portions of Main Street rallying in solidarity with educators in Oklahoma City since April 2.

Since Monday, a steady stream of supporters has come forward with meals, snacks, open doors, and standing at the sides of Miami teachers and support staff taking up the cause while their fellow educators rally and make direct petitions to state legislators at the State Capitol.

For some, like Miami minister and business owner Cassie Tritthart, the decision to support the local and statewide action came with a change of heart. Tritthart initially opposed the walkout after the passage of revenue-raising measures last week that promised an average $6,100 raise for Oklahoma teachers. Then a Facebook Live video posted by Miami Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Hogan the morning of April 4 changed her mind.

"I saw a video from Miami Superintendent Jeremy Hogan this morning (April 4) and in it, he explained why the teachers were still doing their walkout and it made everything a whole lot clearer," said Tritthart. "Where I had been totally against this walkout, I now understand why they were still doing it because from what he said they (the legislature) approved a raise but they haven't clarified where that money was supposed to be coming from and that's still an issue."

Tritthart, a reverend, public speaker, and ministerial services provider through her business Tritthart Special Event Services was then moved by her new perspective on the walkout to use her resources to offer support to those rallying locally. Since Wednesday, she and her mother, Winnie Sue, have been handing out water and snacks, with Tritthart also offering spiritual support by sharing moments of prayer.

"The teachers were so thankful for businesses providing food, drinks, and space to meet and warm up from being outside. It was a beautiful experience," said Tritthart.

Wednesday Tritthart headed out to begin her first round of handing out snacks and prayed with some in the parking lot south of Sonic. She also visited those gathered at the Paul Thomas Family Center praying with picketers and supporters gathered inside as they ate lunch and continued with planning and organizing.

"I had prayer with all of them as we circled up and joined hands. It was very moving and beautiful," she said. "They are so thankful and tell everyone that volunteers and donates how much they appreciated them."

Tritthart said her plan is to continue bringing snacks and offering spiritual support for the duration of the walkout and is open to joint efforts with other businesses and clients which can reach her at 918-919-1500, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/tritthartses, or on her business website – www.tritthartspecialeventservices.com.

On Thursday, the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County also came out in a show of support to pass out fresh baked cookies to those rallying. The Club working in tandem with Miami Public Schools has been providing a place for area students to stay and have meals during the walkout.

The Club moved into its impressive new facility located at 830 D Street SE in Miami opening to members in June 2017. The site boasts 10,000 square feet of space featuring an art room, game room, power hour room, library, teen room, commercial kitchen, gymnasium and snack bar.

Ottawa County Club Executive Director Mackenzie Garst said the kids were excited to show their support and came up with the idea to bake and deliver the cookies.

"We've had the kids all week while our teachers are busy advocating for public education, and the kids really just wanted to give back to their teachers to show appreciation for the hard work that they are doing for their education," said Garst. "They asked if they could bake the teachers cookies today and we thought 'what a great community service project' so we have been busy this morning in the kitchen baking cookies for the teachers and now we're here delivering them."

Students were brought over in the Club's van and handed out cookies to many familiar faces that greeted them with warm embraces and deep expressions of gratitude.

The Club's services during the walkout have been provided at no charge on a first-come basis until reaching capacity, filling its ranks of caregivers with vetted community volunteers.

Donations may be made to the local Club by donating through a donation button found at the top of the ‘Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa County' Facebook page. All money donated locally is used in the Ottawa County Club to support local children.

Dozens of local businesses, organizations, churches, and supporters of every stripe have been showing up daily for local teachers and others as they line the street during the statewide teacher walkout while a steady stream of cars honk their support as they drive by those rallying.

While not without opponents, those gathering to rally locally have seen significant community support and morale seems high.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.