SNHS graduates celebrated with graduation parade
Tim Brody - Editor
You may have seen a long procession of decorated vehicles driving through town last Friday evening, honking their horns and shouting out congratulatory messages.
Sioux North High School (SNHS) staff members and education partners decorated their vehicles with balloons, ribbons, and congratulatory messages, driving past the homes of this year’s graduating students to give them an extra special send off.
School vice-principal Andy Schardt shared, “The concept of the graduation parade spawned from the idea of birthday parades that cropped up last year. Like birthdays, we were not able celebrate with our graduates in person due to COVID restrictions.”
“We are escorted by the Fire Chief in the front of the parade and a fire pumper truck bringing up the rear. This not only provides a measure of safety but also some significant added fanfare with lights flashing, horns and sirens blazing as we pass through. We are very grateful to our volunteer fire department for their time and expense to participate with us, and for the Municipality of Sioux Lookout for supporting this event,” he added.
This was the second year high school staff and education partners have conducted a graduation parade, Schardt said, “We were overwhelmed with the positive community-wide feedback that we received from doing that last year. It turned into a community event. We were not expecting to be in the same situation this year; not being able to celebrate in person with our graduates as a whole staff. All of our teachers and staff will tell you that they missed our students, we miss the opportunity to connect with them; to congratulate them, say goodbye and wish them well on their future endeavors. It made perfect sense to do the parade again this year.”
In accordance with current COVID-19 public health measures, the high school was able to have an outdoor graduation, by appointment, where graduating students were able to cross an outdoor stage and receive their diploma. A small number of immediate family members were able to be present to take pictures and witness their loved one graduating. Schardt said it went very well.
Reflecting further on this year’s graduation parade, Schardt shared, “I know that for our staff the parade is emotional and impactful. It bonds us with a collective purpose, it gives us the opportunity for necessary year end closure with our graduate students as well as an opportunity for us to say goodbye to each other. It also gives graduates and family members an opportunity to share their pride together at a community level, which I think makes this experience so unique and meaningful…Like last year, seeing the happy and excited faces from our graduates and families, seeing them celebrate together during the parade was priceless. Regardless of our situation next year, we are definitely considering making this an annual event.”