COVID can’t stop this class

SPORTING GARB AND SWAG from their universities of choice, (from left) Mariah Mayer, Cerea Lasley and Reilly McConnell were part of a Class of 2020 contingent on this float in Friday’s Tracy Area High School Senior Parade through Tracy. Photo / Per Peterson

TAHS seniors were on parade through town last week as part of their final farewell to their high school days

By Per Peterson

High school kids make a lot of memories on Friday nights. This year’s Tracy Area High School seniors made some good ones last Friday, doing their best to make the best of a bad situation.

As everyone knows, the pandemic known as COVID-19 ended the traditional school year a couple months early this year — the seniors’ official last day was May 15 — and in the process, wiped out all spring extra-curricular activities. But this Friday, all that was forgotten about — at least for one fun night — as the TAHS Class of 2020 took part in what might very well be the school’s first-ever Senior Parade.

“I’m extremely grateful for this, because this is not how any of us expected our senior year to end,” said John Schmitt of Milroy. “Given all this support is really nice. Everyone just came out and showed their support for us.”

Tristan Xiong called the parade fun and exciting.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “I was sad at first, but then I kind of figured out we wouldn’t be able to go back to school. I am sad overall; I wish we could’ve went to school one more time before it ended.”

“It was fun — it was really a new experience of cherishing everyone through this process,” said Angelica Dominguez.

The seniors gathered in the high school parking lot to decorate their respective vehicles if they hadn’t done so already. Some seniors also paid tribute to Emilie Hissam, a classmate they lost a little more than a year ago, with messages on their vehicles like “Emilie Strong.” Hissam died from lung complications on March 21 of last year.

A number of seniors who will be off to college in the fall also wore a shirt with their school name and logo on it. After the parade, they all re-gathered in the parking lot for some more photos and memory-making moments. The scoreboard on the south end of the high school football field was lit up with 2020s to honor this year’s class.

All three seniors expressed their disappointment regarding how their final year of high school came to an abrupt and unexpected ending.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.