Wednesday’s ceremony comes following the rescheduling of this year’s Class of 2020 graduation to December due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced schools across the country to cancel graduation ceremonies. The parade was meant to give seniors a way to celebrate despite the lack of a traditional ceremony.
Although the car parade was not the typical graduation that most high school seniors received in past years, it was well-received by seniors regardless.
“It was really fun," senior Peter Graham said. "I honestly would love it way more than a graduation where you sit in the sun for four hours. This is way better.”
Given the recent death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests against police brutality around the country, many chose to write social justice messaging on their cars next to the usual graduation inscriptions, and some held up signs about racial justice.
Many signs read, “Black Lives Matter,” and some urged people to sign petitions or otherwise call for social or political reforms.
Burton, who has long been an advocate for black students and students of color on campus, praised the social justice advocacy that she saw.
“It makes me feel like my Paly community is showing up for people like me, and for people who look like me, and for their black classmates or their neighbors,” Burton said.
Nguyen also applauded the initiative that the senior class showed in supporting racial justice organizations.
“That’s what Paly students are,” Nguyen said. “To see ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Enough is enough’ emblazoned on car after car — it makes it very proud to have been their teacher.”
“My hope and my prayer is that this generation — the class of 2020 — will be part of the change that needs to happen in this country,” Burton said.
Below are highlights from the parade.
Ethan Chen, Ethan Hwang, Amy Yu