With limited celebrations so far for 2020 graduates, two Kent neighborhoods on the East Hill held a car parade that let the party begin.
Sixty-five vehicles and at least 100 graduates participated in the June 11 event in the Misty Meadows/Pheasants Hollow neighborhoods that honored and congratulated students, said Lynette Hansen, who organized the parade along with Diane Nielsen.
The two neighbors chatted at the mailbox about how disappointed the seniors in high school must be due to school closures since March and the COVID-19 Stay Home/Stay Safe restrictions. So they planned a parade that drew way more participants than expected.
“At 7 p.m. the fire engine siren blared, and the parade began,” Hansen said. “The procession snaked through Pheasants Hollow and Misty Meadows neighborhoods as many viewers cheered and created joyful noise. Residents as well as family, friends and teachers lined the streets with signs, bubbles and balloons.”
Pam Ogdon expressed her gratitude.
“Please let your community know that this was very appreciated by the families with graduating students,” Ogdon said. “It has been such a rough year with the cancellation of their sports, graduation, and the shift to online learning. This really made them feel special and loved!”
Graduates from seven high schools, three colleges and even a Sunrise Elementary kindergarten graduate participated in the parade. Neighborhood volunteers helped line up the cars at the corner of Southeast 224th Street and 127th Avenue Southeast. Vehicles headed south on 127th Avenue and went through the neighborhoods before exiting at Southeast 228th Place and 132nd Avenue Southeast.
“It was such an uplifting event and I was so honored to be asked to participate,” said Kent School Board President Leslie Hamada, grand marshal of the parade, in an email. “What imagination the cars had and the parade route neighborhood had. The bells, the bubbles, the pots and pans with spoons, the banjo, the drummer and trumpet player. …We are a community that loves our kids and comes out to support their accomplishments even in these challenging times. People really were terrific all with social distancing. I loved it!”