This week has started off with a couple of Magic Valley high schools conducting graduation parades as a way to safely acknowledge the achievements of seniors during a time when the Coronavirus pandemic looms large. On May 19, a parade held by Canyon Ridge High School included a poignant moment between a graduating student and her favorite teacher.

Seniors across the country are celebrating the end of their high school experience this week, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school administrators have had to alter the way in which traditional graduation ceremonies are held. Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge High Schools have already sent seniors off with parades this week, and plans on holding formal ceremonies later this year are dependent on if virus cases take a turn toward decreasing.

Most of us have had a specific teacher during our academic days that had a greater impact on us than all others. For one Canyon Ridge High School graduate, that teacher was head of the theater department, for which she studied under all four years. The 2020 school year, particularly for the senior class, will go down as perhaps the most uncertain and stressful ones due to the pandemic.

My family took part in the senior parade Tuesday night for the school. We arrived at the Sunway Soccer Complex in Twin Falls at 6:00 p.m., not knowing what we were in store for. Volunteers taped the names of the graduating class to the windows of the hundreds of cars that sat in rows waiting for the parade to officially begin at 7:00 p.m.

Greg Jannetta
Greg Jannetta

The route of the parade was down North College Road to Canyon Ridge High School, where volunteers were to announce the names of each graduate as cars pulled up toward the front of the school. Community onlookers waved and shouted in support of the passing graduates all the way from the complex to the school. It was a very special experience to be a part of.

School staffers wearing gloves and masks handed out sunglasses and diploma covers to the graduating class. My daughter was handed her cover by the teacher that most inspired her, and what has been a rocky, emotional final year of school for her that included a cancelled prom and the loss of the final three months, was sealed with a fist bump.

Congratulations to all of the graduating classes of 2020! You earned this.