Commencement, COVID-style

Compensating for the coronavirus shutdown, parents organize parade for Clifton High School Class of 2020

CLIFTON – The current novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in many activities honoring and recognizing high school seniors across the Heart of Texas, as well as nationwide. Both graduating seniors and their parents are missing out on important events that mean the end of a high school career.

Despite the long-standing traditions, the rite of passage into adulthood for the Class of 2020 has included no band banquets, no Baccalaureate dinners, no prom, no walking the stage in front of a gym full of family and friends. But in an attempt to compensate for the lost chance to celebrate, a novel, historic event took place in downtown Clifton last Friday evening.

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The Clifton High School Class of 2020 parents organized a parade to celebrate their seniors. And a large crowd of people lined the parade route showing an outpouring of heartwarming support and congratulations with signs and yells as the seniors passed by in their decorated cars. No masks hid the grins on their faces as they waved to the spectators.

Additionally, the organizing parents offered packages of gift cards and other goodies to the seniors, who clearly enjoyed the positive attention.

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“Friday night’s #TeamCHS Senior Graduation Parade was awesome,” Clifton ISD superintendent Andy Ball said. “Thank you so much to our great #TeamCHS senior parents for organizing it, our Clifton City Council for approving it, and our Clifton PD and VFD for the escort.

“Making a difference together like this is one of the many reasons we live in Clifton.”

The parade came after the last senior had walked the stage in their togas and tasseled graduation caps and received their diploma from their family at the district’s Performing Arts Center. Each senior had a designated time slot for their symbolic graduation and the traditional ringing of the bell at Cub Stadium.

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The individual ceremonies were all filmed and will be compiled into a video by the district’s Technology Coordinator Barbi Ernst.

Like several other high schools in the area, Clifton High School will be having an adapted, outdoor graduation ceremony, following the regulations of social distancing, at which the class Valedictorian and Salutatorian will present their speeches.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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