Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) – Friends Robin Brown-Hook and Mary Kyzer felt the Class of 2020 needed to have something special done for them before graduation this year. The COVID -19 pandemic had drastically changed what these students would experience during a culmination of their first and formative school years. Certainly, the virus will be a story to one day tell their grandchildren but right now, it has robbed them of much of the excitement of this event.
In a student’s senior year, there are many things that make it special. High school awards banquets, proms, parties, and springs sports are some things this year’s graduates will never get to experience. In many school districts, seniors also will miss that all important walk across the stage for a handshake and a “job well done” from the district’s superintendent. Although many will graduate in either televised or live streamed ceremonies, that is not quit the same. Even in districts that are planning for students to actually walk the stage, there are lots of limitations on how they and their limited guests who attend get to celebrate this milestone in their lives.
To try and add a bit of excitement to replace what the graduates were missing, Robin and Mary decided to plan something special. These ladies collaborated with the Town of Pine Ridge, the Pine Ridge Police Department, and the South Congaree station of the county’s fire service, to hold a personal parade for the graduating seniors.
On Saturday, May 16, 2020, people and agencies who were joining the parade all gathered at the Pine Ridge schools. As they lined up the parade and prepared to start, others from the community, friends, and families came out to participate and support them too. At 11:00 a.m., the parade left the assembly area and drove slowly by the SC’s Department of Natural Resources Property Maintenance & Storage Compound adjacent to the schools. There, more than a dozen seniors from Airport High School and a graduate of Anderson University had been prepositioned along the compound’s fence line. The emergency vehicles led the way as the parade passed the seniors. Everyone shouted well wishes, waved, and made lots of noise!
Robin said that she and Mary could not have made the parade a success without the people who participated. They especially want to thank Pine Ridge Police Chief Vince Silano, Lexington County Assistant Fire Chief Robert Risinger, and the Town of Pine Ridge for supporting this event. Ambrosia Photography even took the seniors’ pictures after the parade. That captured this moment to remember.
Let us all remember the seniors who worked so hard. You may also want to thank the two ladies that decided to organize a personal parade for those graduates of the Class of 2020.