The mothers of two Francis Scott Key High School seniors have organized a vehicle-based parade set for Wednesday night as an alternative way to help celebrate the seniors after they lost their graduation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelle Miller and Jenny Haines are neighbors in Taneytown’s Meadowbrook community. They decided to organize a parade through the Meadowbrook and Copperfield developments since, according to Miller, about 20 graduates live in the two communities. They are holding the parade on the day their graduation was originally supposed to be held.
Miller noted that FSK students have been physically out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 13.
“Little did we know that they would not be going back,” she said.
The parade will be a 2-mile loop between the two communities starting at 7 p.m. in Taneytown’s Meade’s Crossing development on Crimson Avenue. Vehicles are to enter the development off of Route 194. Parade participants are encouraged to arrive at 6:45 p.m. to line up.
The parade has a flipped concept compared to usual parades. Instead of those celebrated being in the parade, the guests of honor will be the ones watching instead.
“It’s kind of backwards from a typical parade, where normally the people that you are recognizing are the ones in the parade but we were afraid that if the graduates were the ones in the parade, there would be way more people along the sidewalks,” Miller said. “So, in order to maintain the social distancing, we had the graduates stand — plus we really wanted to recognize them in their caps and gowns.”
The parade will be composed of teachers, community members and family members. Miller also wants those in the parade to be respectful of the neighborhood as they drive through.
“We’ve just asked that you’d be respectful of other neighbors and you don’t honk the horn excessively,” said Miller. “We are encouraging balloons and decorating your cars and giving a little shout out. You are going through a neighborhood so we’re just asking that you are respectful of the neighbors that are living in that neighborhood.”
The seniors will be following social distancing guidelines. According to Miller, since there will be social distancing and parade participants will be in their cars, masks are not required but it is up to them.
Even though the parade started as a way to celebrate FSK graduating seniors, there are students from other high schools and one home-schooled student that Miller also encourages to join the parade.
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“We’re not discriminating against anybody,” she said. “If you are a senior and you want to come out, please come out to be recognized because it doesn’t matter what high school you go to; it sucks that you’re not getting to participate in your high school graduation.”