LONDONDERRY — It was an official and unique way to end a four-year high school career.
For the approximately 350 students making up Londonderry High’s Class of 2020, it was also one final journey around a beloved high school building to say goodbye to teachers, administrators and staff.
Londonderry’s senior class got a big sendoff Tuesday afternoon with a car parade. As the final bell of the day rang — at 2:14 p.m. — the parade began with a long line of seniors in decorated cars snaking through the school campus on Mammoth Road to be greeted and heralded by favorite teachers.
Teachers and staff decorated their own cars and parked along the parade route, giving big cheers to the passing students, many standing up in cars safely and peering out the vehicles’ moon roofs to wave.
Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, also the longtime “voice” of Lancer Nation, did his own personal commentary as seniors passed by in their cars, wishing them well and good luck once they leave Londonderry High.
The rolling senior salute parade organized at the nearby middle school and then, led by police sirens, drove around the high school safely. The lead car in the long parade included school mascot Larry the Lancer.
“It’s a parade of stars,” Smith said, “and the cars keep coming.”
The parade was also posted live on Facebook.
Banners with the photos of each senior in the Class of 2020 were also hanging on poles along the parade route, courtesy of the Londonderry Rotary Club, and with support from many other town/school officials and local businesses.
Londonderry High will celebrate its Class of 2020 in a special way later this summer, with more details to come soon.
Londonderry High Assistant Principal Katie Sullivan said during an earlier interview she expected a lot of cheers along the parade route.
“And probably some tears” Sullivan added. “It’s been a unique ending to a school year.”
For Pinkerton Academy and its more than 700 members of the Class of 2020, making the year end unique, but memorable topped the list.
Seniors also received a celebratory salute and parade Monday afternoon. Monday was the actual graduation date for Pinkerton if COVID-19 hadn't taken hold.
Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Timothy Powers said all efforts were made this year to make the Class of 2020 feel special amid some very unique circumstances.
"We talked to our seniors," Powers said, "and (wanted to know) what's important to them. They wanted a real graduation."
Powers said the Academy knew this year would be different.
In addition to the recent senior parade on campus, Pinkerton will host a virtual graduation event on Sunday, June 14, at 7 p.m., live streamed on Facebook and combining elements of a traditional baccalaureate service and graduation speeches.
Then next week, over the course of three days, Pinkerton will host ceremonies to hand out diplomas. Students will come to the campus in caps and gowns and walk across a stage to get their diploma while families stay safe and watch from cars.
Londonderry will release more definitive plans for its "graduation" schedule and events in the weeks ahead.