ISHPEMING — School years all around the country were all cut short due to the COVID-19 crisis, and for seniors that meant they will probably missed their graduation day.
Westwood High School held a parade to celebrate their graduating seniors on Thursday night, the night that was supposed to be their graduation ceremony. Every graduate was in attendance in their own cars to have a commencement cruise around the area, some of them even wearing their caps and gowns.
Parents, teachers, friends, and community members lined up to wave and cheer on the seniors as they drove the parade route, which went along the ACES loop: starting at Westwood High School through the access road to Aspen Ridge School and out to Aspen Ridge School Road, then to Southwood Drive, and back around on Westwood Drive concluding back at the high school.
“The parents were really instrumental, and the staff at the high school, in putting this together and letting the kids know,” said NICE Community School District Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine. “We felt as though it was something that would help them commemorate it a little bit. We were especially concerned because some of our students are joining the military and are heading off to basic training, and we wanted to make sure that we some sort of recognition of their school careers before they left and went around the country to start their service.”
DeAugustine said that he is hopeful that they will be able to do a full graduation ceremony later in the summer on the football field if restrictions are lifted, and can be done while social distancing.
While the event was special for the students, it also gave the faculty some closure after the school year was cut short.
“A lot of us haven’t seen each other in a couple of months,” said DeAugustine. “Letting the students see the teachers face-to-face, even if it is from a distance and with masks on, or through a windshield, we feel like that is important. They certainly will never forget their senior year, or their graduation, considering the crazy times we’re in now. But this just felt like the right thing to do, to at least in a safe way, give them some way to commemorate the end of their high school careers.”