Photos by Jill Fox
By Jill Fox
After much uncertainty, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Seniors were recognized with a celebration unlike any other.
On Saturday, June 6, cars adorned with hand-written messages, signs, banners, balloons, and more, paraded down Pine Island Road in Parkland for more than two hours.
Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, who came up with the idea for the event, said it was so heartwarming.
“It was emotional and beautiful to see all the graduates and their families showing how special the MSD community is.”
Parkland City officials, including the commissioners, city manager, Broward Commissioner Michael Udine, School Board Member Lori Alhadeff, Marjory Stoneman Douglas teachers, and administration, cheered on the seniors as they looped around past the high school. Even the therapy dogs accustomed to visiting the school came to show their support.
Vehicle decorations highlighted the various colleges students plan to attend as well as the strange events of the year, like the celebratory yard signs and lack of toilet paper.
Udine said it was an excellent way to recognize the students for their hard work after the adversity with what happened at the school and now with the pandemic.
From Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Pluto decked out in a cap and gown, the MSD spirit could be seen everywhere. A giant digital display cycling between the names of the graduates and images from their less than an ideal senior year was positioned at the start of the processional.
Starting with the valedictorian and salutatorian, followed by around seven hundred cars, Principal Kefford, adorned with her mask, presented each graduate with a white carnation as DJ Mike Sipe called out each of their names with as much enthusiasm as the first.
Mayor Hunschofsky live-streamed the parade and could be heard screaming in the background while waving to each graduate.
“It wasn’t your normal graduation, but this might have been more fun for them– riding with their parents, their friends, memories that will last a lifetime,” said Vice Mayor Mayersohn.
A separate virtual graduation will still follow, including speeches by student representatives and a roll call of graduates on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 7 p.m. on BECON-TV and live-streamed via YouTube.
Principal Kefford said, “It was wonderful to see all of our graduates’ smiling faces, as well as all of the staff and community members here to cheer them on into the next phase of their lives.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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