Schools across the Far Northeast won’t let anything get in the way of celebrating the end of the school year with their students. From car parades and caravans to yard signs, music and megaphones, school communities have made it a priority to celebrate their students to the fullest.
Honks and cheers could be heard from Peoria to Uvalda Street as teachers and staff from John H. Amesse Elementary embarked on a car parade that looped the neighborhood streets surrounding the school. Staff and teachers taped signs to their cars, painted messages on windows and gave plenty of social-distance air hugs to students and families as they paraded past.
Students and families joined in enthusiastically from their front yards — waving signs, playing music and dressing up in school gear.
“I left with my teacher heart full, and my people heart even fuller,” said John H. Amesse teacher, Jeffrey McMahon.
It’s not every day that the school principal makes house calls, but on May 1, principal Stacy Parrish arrived at her seniors’ homes with a special delivery — custom yard signs for the Class of 2020.
Recapping the experience, principal Parrish wrote, “Loved seeing our graduates today as we dropped off their yard signs! We know your senior year is like no other, so small things like this are reminders to you that we miss you, love you, and are so proud of you! Hoooowwwwwllll!!!!”
Northeast Early College is now preparing for their interactive, virtual graduation on May 26, during which they will unveil a special graduation video created for the students.
Staff members from Collegiate Prep Academy pulled up to the CPA parking lot in decorated cars — prepped with signs, music and plenty of energy before heading out to bring a celebration straight to their students.
The school community organized a Senior Caravan Celebration to honor graduating seniors, and in a long (and loud) parade of cars, drove by the homes of Class of 2020 seniors, stopping to deliver yard signs and wishing them all the best during their final weeks of school.
“Senior year of high school is such a defining moment, one that I think most of us have taken for granted,” said Neisa Lynch, CPA principal. “This is our way of acknowledging students’ hard work, and hopefully bringing a bit of joy and happiness during these hard times.”
The staff at Collegiate Prep Academy were at it again, decked out in CPA gear and radiating school spirit, this time to pull off an epic drive-through graduation ceremony for their seniors. Graduates circled the grounds as graduation music pumped through the speakers and balloon towers swayed in the breeze.
Instead of walking across a stage, students were announced by principal Lynch while Board of Education member Tay Anderson handed out diplomas through car windows. CPA staff made sure it was a true celebration of their students, right down to the pre-packaged slices of graduation cake. Watch footage from the live stream.
What usually serves as a parking lot turned into a celebratory drive-through on May 8 — brightly decorated with balloons, signs and teachers dancing to the music. Graduating seniors weaved through the lanes to pick up their cap, gown and other small gifts as teachers and staff cheered them on.
“It’s important to remind our seniors that we have not forgotten about them and all the accomplishments they have had. We know this is hard, but at the end of the day, we always say we’re family. Family doesn’t forget about each other, and we don’t do things small,” said principal Kimberly Grayson. “We’re all in this together. It means the world to them to know that. Today was awesome.”
Students then donned their caps and gowns for impromptu graduation photos set up by Denverite photographer, Kevin Beaty.
The celebration spilled over into the airwaves, as Denver radio station KS 107.5 gave shoutouts to graduating seniors between songs. Listen to an on-air shoutout:
The Senior Drive-Through took the place of DMLK’s traditional Senior Check-Out Day and is one of many events that will round out the school year. Seniors were celebrated for their postsecondary plans with an online, Senior Signing Day on May 15 and DMLK’s official, virtual graduation ceremony will stream live 7 p.m. May 26. DMLK eighth-graders will also be celebrated with an online Continuation Day on May 21.
Students and families traded clapping for honking at the Noel Community Arts School graduation on May 18. Set up like a drive-in movie, students parked their decorated cars in rows and then sat patiently for their name to be called- making the experience not so different from a traditional ceremony. Students practiced social distancing as they crossed the stage, receiving their diploma and congratulations from Board of Education members Tay Anderson and Jennifer Bacon.
Seniors smiled for the camera as they drove through their decorated parking lot during Senior Checkout Day at DCIS Montbello. School staff were on hand to present the students with senior swag bags and snap photos with a custom-made Class of 2020 photo frame. Board of Education member Tay Anderson was also present and captured a well-earned, celebratory cap toss — serving as a perfect end to the day.
The official virtual graduation ceremony for DCIS at Montbello is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 26. DCIS at Montbello eighth-graders and their families were also celebrated during an online Continuation event on May 19. Watch the video.
Although graduation and end-of-the-year celebrations look a bit different this year, there’s no stopping our school communities when it comes to lifting up our students. Congratulations to the Class of 2020, and to all students. Thank you for your resilience, your patience and your optimism during an otherwise extremely trying time. We are so proud of each and every one of you!