ORRHS holds first graduation parade

Jun 19, 2020

Fire engines blared and car horns screamed through the lovely summer night; seniors from Old Rochester Regional High School hung out of windows, stood up through sunroofs and waved to Tri-Town residents as three graduation parades wound their way through each community, ending at the high school.

While parades got ready at Washburn Park, the Knights of Columbus and Dexter Lane, families, teachers and administrators started gathering at the elementary schools. Each parade route was carefully planned to go by the schools and other major spots around town like Ned’s Point and Silvershell Beach. 

Peyton Blood, a senior from Marion, said she’s “really happy” that the school was able to put on the event for them.

“It’s like a trip down memory lane,” Blood said jokingly.

Gracey Weedall, another Marion senior, said that she “didn’t expect this many people to show up.” She was really sad the seniors couldn’t have their end-of-year activities like normal, but was content with the outcome as time went on.

At Old Hammondtown School, Carolyn Gardner and her husband brought lawn chairs and a book to wait for their granddaughter Grace Greany to go by.

Gardner said that the end of the year was “disappointing,” she said. “They look forward to it, and always do the walkthrough. And it’s been hard not being together with classmates for so long.” 

Jim Higgens showed up in support of his daughter, Jillian. 

He called the end of the year, “disappointing, but at least they all had to go through it together.” 

Speaking after the parade, Center School and Old Hammondtown School Principal Rosemary Bowman said it was “a great celebration! I am glad the tradition could continue outside.”

And one third grade teacher just savored the chance to see her students again. 

“It was awesome to see them and wish them off on the next adventure of their lives…. And see the smiles on their faces!” Kim Griffin said. 

One former Old Hammondtown teacher who had moved on to Dartmouth showed up just to see his former students. 

Cathy Furtado, a fifth grade teacher at Sippican School, said “it’s a great feeling” to be able to see the students she taught once again. “You obviously feel for them,” but this is a nice second option, she said. Her own fifth graders were excited for the event too.

“It’s such a great community to work in” and she is lucky to be there, Furtado said.

At the high school, future Superintendent Michael Nelson was standing at the entrance to wave seniors goodbye.

He said the event is to “show how proud we are” of seniors, and he is also proud of the staff who came out to celebrate with them. 

Principal Michael Devoll stood nearby and said that it hasn’t been a typical senior year, so the seniors deserve a not-so-typical sendoff, and that “it’s about the community, so it’s a nice way to bring them all together.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!