Seniors on paradePublished 6:59am Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Pearl River Central High School promoted the joy of graduation by conducting a senior parade at every school in the district Monday afternoon.
The seniors started their day with graduation practice, a slideshow and a luncheon before heading off on buses to the Pearl River Central Upper and Lower Elementary Schools, Pearl River Central Middle School and ending at Pearl River Central High School.
Christopher Sherman, the organizer of the senior parade, said the tradition started three years ago when Superintendent Alan Lumpkin approached the staff about creating ways to promote graduation.
“The students didn’t expect it that first year, but they expect it now,” Sherman said.
He said younger students have a hard time focusing on graduation and seeing how important it is because it seems so far into the future. The parade puts it in the forefront of their minds.
“The goal was for students to see there was an endgame and see the excitement of the seniors and pass it down to the younger ones,” Sherman said.
High School Principal Stacy Baudoin said while the parade is about dropout prevention, there is more to the event.
“It’s mostly dropout prevention, but it’s also just a way to make their senior year fun and memorable,” Baudoin said.
Members of the band led the seniors, who were decked out in their caps and gowns, through the four schools. The band played everything from the fight song to upbeat songs featured at the football games.
Along the way, seniors stopped to hug family members, past teachers and their friends.
Some shed tears, while others are just excited to be graduating.
“It really is a privilege and I try to get the students to appreciate it,” Sherman said.
He said, over the years, the students have gotten better about wearing the caps and gowns through the entire parade so younger students can see what they would look like when they graduate.
Sherman said it’s not only for the students, but is also a chance for the faculty and staff to say one last goodbye.
“It gives them a last chance to hug their senior and see them move on,” Sherman said.