Westwood grads on parade
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
A little less pomp and circumstance and a little more party was in order for the grads of Westwood this year; with COVID-19 restrictions in effect the students got to mark their graduation with a loud and lively parade of decorated vehicles.
Students graduating from Westwood Senior High School in Hudson, like graduates everywhere this year, weren’t going to get to have the traditional ceremony to mark their special moment. Even if COVID-19 was going to rob them of their grad party, teachers and organizers at the school were not going to let the occasion pass by without the recognition it deserved.
“They came up with the idea of a drive-through grad ceremony so everyone could celebrate from their cars,” said Caroline Cernik, receptionist at Westwood.
In the days leading up to the event, staff went around to students’ homes delivering yard signs and grab-bags full of balloons and streamers for grads to use in decorating their cars. Students were invited to dress up their cars and parade them through the bus lane at the school on the evening of June 18, while all the staff lined the sides of the lane to cheer on the procession.
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
Westwood staff came early so they could line both sides of the bus lane and cheer on the graduates as they passed, music and noisemakers in full swing.
“This year is the school’s one hundredth anniversary, so originally we’d planned a grad ceremony that was going to be special,” said Cernik. “The students were going to all be in maroon (the school colours), and we were going to have indigenous dancers. We wanted to make a big deal out of it.” That plan had to be shelved for the pandemic, as did many others. Also cancelled were trips they had planned for New York City and for Europe, so the staff didn’t want this moment to slip away unacknowledged.
Everyone loves a parade
The students went all out with their decorating, many adding their own touches with everything from homemade signs and painted messages to multi-coloured pool noodles and even flashing Christmas lights. They then turned out en masse in a procession that lasted well over an hour as they each took turns cruising through the long line of teachers and staff cheering them on and congratulating them for sticking it out in a challenging time.
At the head of the line, Principal Dion Joseph and Vice Principal Mike Stewart were on hand to give out yearbooks, photos, and best wishes to all who made it.
“We just want to say congratulations to all of the students; we’re so glad they could all come out today,” said Joseph. “And I want to say thanks to the teachers too. The fact that they all wanted to come out to support these kids, on such a hot day, shows how dedicated they are and how much they care. And really, that’s a testament to what a special group of students we have this year.”
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