Given how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected and taken from so many, Mount Airy decided to give something for their residents to celebrate instead.
The week is all about seniors.
On Tuesday and Thursday at 12 p.m., the town of Mount Airy held motorcades for senior citizens in the Wildwood Community. On Friday, the town is celebrating its high school seniors.
Prior to the motorcades, Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg said they handed out flyers to inform the older adults about the motorcades and encouraging them to participate.
“The key was getting the flyers out by hand,” said Rockinberg. “We also took that opportunity, working with their HOA [Home Owners Association], to get out some other community news because they’ve been isolated for a couple months. So they really had limited forms of communication.”
According to Rockinberg, the seniors were on their porches as they viewed the motorcade, made up of town officials including the mayor and town council, Mount Airy Police Department, Mount Airy Fire Department, a trolley and multiple others.
“I’ve always felt very passionately about our senior citizens,” said Rockinberg. “This is one of our many outreaches to help them feel connected, to help them feel loved.”
Rockinberg said he knows that seniors are more vulnerable at this time and had to be isolated, which is part of why he wanted to give them these motorcades.
They enjoyed their motorcades and were all smiles as the automobiles went by.
“We did the sirens, the music, it was quite a spectacle,” said Rockinberg. “Oh and the seniors; if you could see the excitement on their faces as well as the excitement on our faces. It was wonderful.”
Now that the senior citizens have had their celebrations, high school seniors will be celebrated with a motorcade on Friday. Two motorcades will be held: one for Frederick County high school seniors at 10 a.m. and one for Carroll County high school seniors at 2 p.m.
“I felt strongly we needed to do something for the seniors so I pulled together a team of people and we decided to put a look at our best options and the motorcade was the best option,” said Rockinberg. “It’s something that I was passionate about for our seniors, and that the whole committee was compassionate about.
"Our seniors were missing out on their traditional graduation but we thought we could actually make it something even better than the traditional graduation; something unique that no other class had the opportunity to have.”
High school seniors have the opportunity to make signs for the mayor to read to give them a shout out over the public address system in his parade truck.
“That’s something you can record and go back,” said Rockinberg. “How many kids get a parade and get announced by the town mayor while they stand there? It’s not many and since this is a different graduation that we’ve never seen, we wanted to do something very special for them.”
Even with the weather calling for rain throughout the weekend, the town was still planning on holding the motorcades Friday, according to Rockinberg on Thursday afternoon. If the motorcade does get rained out Friday, it will be moved to Saturday.
Even though the pandemic has taken away their traditional graduation, Rockinberg wants the graduating seniors to take this opportunity to enjoy something that might be better.
“Embrace these abnormal times as being very unique. They are special, they have an opportunity here,” said Rockinberg. "While they’re losing the traditional graduation, to be honest, that might be boring in comparison to this special, unique graduation. We just hope they enjoy it and that they do have some resemblance of a more formal graduation that the schools are working out. We really appreciate the schools’ efforts.”