Seniorific! UCHS PTO Conducts Car Parade for the Class of 2020
By NANCY CAMBRIA
Director of Communications
Monday, May 11, 2020, was supposed to be the day the Class of 2020 formally graduated from University City High School. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the need to remain socially-distanced canceled plans to hold the graduation ceremony at Chaifetz Arena on that date. A new date is set for June 15 pending health and safety recommendations.
The sobering news of the postponement of the big day didn't stop the University City High School PTO from making the best of things. Under the leadership of UCHS PTO President Lauren Wright-Jones, more than 100 cars driven by parents, teachers, alumni and other supporters formed a car parade that evening to celebrate the graduates.
The Seniors were invited with their immediate families to come to the high school in their cars and park along both sides of Balson Avenue prior to the start of the parade. The students were encouraged to wear their caps and gowns and other spirit gear and to decorate their cars. As they drove east on Balson to park their cars they were welcomed by a "gallery of the graduates." More than 180 personalized yard signs bearing each student's name were hung on the school fences lining both sides of Balson.
At 6:30 p.m., the parade got underway. Led by two University City Fire Department trucks and a stiltwalker wearing a glittering black and gold suit, the cars began driving by with participants honking horns, blasting music, shaking cowbells and cheering as loud as they could for the seniors. It took more than 45 minutes for the parade to snake east up Balson, around the traffic circle in front of the high school and back down Balson.
There were cheers, air hugs, tears, balloons, bright signs and even a rather terse message to the Coronavirus on a poster informing the virus there was no way it could ever erase the heart of a lion. Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley decked out her vehicle with a giant stuffed lion. Some seniors brought posters for their friends to sign - at a safe social distance. Class of 2020 face masks were given to participants to ensure safety, and students did a fantastic job obeying social-distancing to ensure the event was safe.
Local news was there to cover the parade both on television (video above) and in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It was truly a special event that brought the community together in a way no one would have predicted two months ago!