One South Bend neighborhood celebrates graduating seniors with drive-thru parade

NOW: One South Bend neighborhood celebrates graduating seniors with drive-thru parade

ST.JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – There was 78 different homes in a South Bend residential neighborhood that took part in preparing a drive thru graduation parade for graduating seniors Saturday afternoon.

Erskine Boulevard residents held a graduation celebration to show their support to the graduating class of 2020 in the community.

“It’s been great; I’ve had a fun time today. I’ve had nothing but a smile on my face and I’m grateful for everybody that came out,” said Washington High School senior Bailey.

Neighbors, friends, and family waved and cheered on graduating seniors as they pulled up in their cars around Erskine Boulevard to celebrate the graduating class of 2020.

“It’s neat because there was not something that was set up previously for our students to be recognized, and so this is really kind of, the culminating thing at the end of the year, that kind of gives them the opportunity to just keep their distance from each other, but still participate in celebrating their end of the year graduation. So, it’s really nice to have the community set this up for us,” said Thomas Sims, the principal at Washington High School.

In March, students found out that they weren’t going back to school after spring break due to the coronavirus pandemic. For many seniors, that meant missing out on milestones like prom and graduation.

But one neighborhood took the initiative to put together a drive thru parade for eight high schools in the area to fill the void.

“This is kind of everybody realizing that these graduates, they miss the second half of the year and just celebrating them because they got through it, even if it was on online classes,” said Marion High School senior Olivia Walter. “And just celebrating them and letting them know they’re still noticed. And that they’re getting congratulated that they are graduating this year.”

Homes throughout the neighborhood were decorated in school colors, as people came out to support the community seniors. Something one neighbor said he was more than happy to be a part of.

“Just doing something a little extra special to make sure that they know that our community supports them,” said Joe Wilfing.

The parade went all the way down Erskine Boulevard, and each block was assigned a different high school to decorate with their school colors.

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