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Celebrating from a distance Lake Zurich hosts a graduation parade to celebrate the class of 2020. By: Sasha Kek, adam monnette, and Alexandra rauchfuss

Graduation is the final milestone in high school, typically involving a large ceremony, however, after two months worth of eLearning and Stay-At-Home orders, seniors drove in a parade as a graduation celebration.

“[The parade was] all smiles [and] we were able to forget about COVID-19 for a few minutes,” Nick Juknelis, choir director, said. “I think I liked seeing them in the parade better than [in an] in-person graduation! There are many things with self-quarantine and social distance that I [could not] wait to get rid of [like] Zoom, but this is one event I hope we can consider for every year!”

Like Juknelis, Teagan Jones, senior, also believes the parade should become an annual event. For many seniors and their families, the parade was a time where they could be with each other. Jones thinks the community needs something to lighten the mood this event accomplished that goal.

"I thought this was a great way to celebrate the seniors and bring the community together during a difficult time," Jones, said. I loved seeing so many people waving and cheering from their front lawns and porches. I know that is was a lot of work to put together, but I think it should be a tradition that the school does every year!" Photo by Carolyn Wagner.

Some students found familiar faces in the crowd like Luke Jalove, senior, who saw his friend for the first time after being in quarantine for two months.

"I saw my buddy Cason behind them, and we sort of yelled at each other in joy," Jalove, said. "[The parade] was absolutely wonderful, and it reminded me of how I felt about these people who defined the last four years of my life." Photo by Alexandra Rauchfuss.

For many students, the parade was the only time that classmates were able to get together in person since the beginning of the Stay-At-Home order.

“I did enjoy the parade! I thought it was a great way to get everyone together and it made the seniors feel special," Melina Kotsiopoulos, senior, said. Photo by Carolyn Wagner

Although “it was not the end [of the school year that] I pictured,” Spencer Bacon, senior, said, he enjoyed the parade like Kotsiopoulos because he liked seeing the community come out to congratulate the seniors.

“The most memorable part of the day for me was definitely seeing some of the teachers that I have had before come out to congratulate us and wish us luck as we move on in life,” Bacon said. Photo by Adam Monnette. 

For Cassidy Cwiertnia, senior, a memorable part during the parade was passing by her childhood home and seeing her family, adding to what made the parade “absolutely amazing,” according to Cwiertnia.

“This was a perfect way to end [the year] because all of Lake Zurich came out,” Cwiertnia said. “I enjoyed this so much and I think that LZ should do this every year and keep it as a tradition.” Photo by Alexandra Rauchfuss.

Grant Haidu, senior, agrees the parade should become a tradition because he believes it “was way better than any ceremony because ceremonies are boring,” Haidu said.

“[I felt] really good [during the parade] because the community came together and supported us, and I was very surprised at how many people came out,” Haidu said. Photo by Adam Monnette.

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