JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown High School Class of 2021 saw plenty of challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic created havoc for the students during their final year-and-a-half of high school.
All of their hard work, however, was recognized during a parade outside of Jamestown High School Tuesday evening as dozens of students lined the sidewalk in front of the building. Friends and family members of the students drove their cars past the graduates, showing their support with each honk of the car horn.
WNY News Now spoke with Joanne Dean, who organized the parade that was supported, but not officially sanctioned, by Jamestown Public Schools. Dean explains that the ceremony was a neat way for students to celebrate their perseverance during the tough times.
“I think it’s really important to always recognize our seniors even pre-COVID, but especially during COVID, it’s really been a tough year-and-a-half for these kids and their families,” Dean said. “They’ve lost a lot of things that they’re traditionally used to.”
Planning for the parade began prior to the administration’s announcement stating that JHS would be holding one graduation ceremony for the class. Dean says “it means a lot” for the students to graduate together to celebrate their accomplishments.
Emily Hall, a member of the 2021 class, spoke with WNY News Now following the parade. She explains that the gathering of her friends and family was extremely important to her.
“It (the parade) makes us feel like people actually care about us, and that normalcy is starting to come back to this community,” Hall said. “It makes me feel like they (my family) are proud of me and all of my accomplishments.”
Dean says the parade format was designed last year when COVID started. The parade began in Brooklyn Square, proceeded up North Main Street, before turning right onto East Second Street. From there, the procession traveled towards the high school before ending at the Foote Avenue entrance to the school parking lot.
Jamestown High School’s graduation ceremony will be this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater.