Due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Parker High School couldn’t hold a traditional graduation ceremony this year. So, they did the next best thing: they sent off the Class of 2020 with a parade through Parker.
The parade went in a loop through Parker. It went from the Parker High Athletic Complex at 18th Street and Ocotillo Avenue along 18th Street to Joshua Ave. They turned left onto Joshua and then left again onto Agency Road. They took Agency Road and made a left turn onto Ocotillo to return to the athletic complex.
After the returning to the athletic complex, the parade vehicles drove along the track through Joe Bush Stadium, where the students received their diplomas from Parker High Principal David Daly while still in their vehicles.
All along the parade route, crowds cheered for the graduates as they passed. Signs congratulating the graduates had also been placed along the parade route.
The parade was led by Parker Police Office Jose Martinez. The long-time school resource officer for the Parker Unified School District, Martinez is retiring at the end of May.
There was also a vehicle honoring Claudia Snyder. She was a young woman who would’ve been a graduate of Parker High this year. Sadly, she died in a drowning accident in 2019.
After the parade was over, there was a fireworks display from the Colorado River Indian Tribes' Fire Department honoring the Class of 2020.
“I think this went pretty good,” Parker Schools Superintendent Brad Sale said after the parade. “It’s the best thing that could’ve happened under the circumstances. I could see the kids really enjoyed themselves.”
Daly echoed these sentiments.
“I think it went very well,” he said. “I was very happy with it.”
Schools around the state were initially closed by Gov. Doug Ducey and State Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman March 20. The schools were closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year on March 30.