The sun may not have shone on Peter Shene Ogden’s Secondary School’s 2021 grad parade but spirits were still bright.
For an hour and a half in Centennial Park on Saturday, June 19, 75 grads showed off prom dresses, suits and cars as dozens of parents and community members passed by and congratulated them. Pizza was as plentiful as smiles as classic ‘80s songs played from the stage, getting some grads up to dance.
Parents honked their horns, craned out of windows to take pictures and tossed flowers and gifts at their children, proud of all their achievements over this last year.
While it’s not their usual parade and dinner and dance, the grads were happy that something had been able to be pulled together.
Lizzie Haretzmuller has been going to PSO since Grade 8 and has lived in 100 Mile House her whole life. Graduating this year feels pretty weird, she said.
“It doesn’t really feel like a real graduation considering COVID and everything, but it also feels kind of weird to move on,” Haretzmuller said.
The parade turned out a lot better than she was expecting with decorations and lots of people passing by. Having a celebration like this during these times is really nice, Haretzmuller said. She’d like to thank everyone who came out to give her and her friends a good high school send-off.
Colton Sanford and his girlfriend Camryn Ray had a great time at the parade receiving gifts from family and friends as they passed by. The last year has been a stressful one, Sanford said.
“I don’t know how I graduated,” Sanford remarked with a grin.
Both of them said they’re nervous about life after high school and aren’t quite sure what they will do next. Ray said that beyond the cloudy weather and spots of rain, the parade was perfect and she really liked how it turned out.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming, the volunteers for volunteering and the donations (of food and prizes),” Ray said.
The head of the grad committee Marsha Ried, said the day was amazing. The grads all seemed happy and she had nothing to offer but her congratulations.
“The weather’s held off, the kids are having fun, it almost feels like normal,” Ried said. “It makes it feel like COVID is in the background instead of taking over.”
Ried’s daughter Emily and her date Gabe Pasemko were also happy the grad parade had gone ahead. Pasemko thought it was great to be at this “beautiful park with our beautiful car.”
“It was really stressful to get here but I’m so happy to get together. I feel happy the girls all got to get dressed up and that we’re all done school,” Emily said.
When asked what their future plans were the two simply said to “take a break and chill out.”