If you couldn't buy mylar balloons Tuesday it might be because the entire world supply was being used at Miramar Regional Park.
That’s sarcasm, of course, but it’s not far from the truth. The drive-through graduation parade for Everglades High School’s seniors was a spectacle of joy. Hundreds of cars rolled through, most decorated with signs, ribbons, and balloons. Each vehicle had a graduate and his or her family inside, and many of the kids stood waving through sunroofs.
“I feel so disappointed that they couldn’t get the traditional graduation that they wanted, that’s why I’m very thankful that the city of Miramar put this event together to congratulate them,” said Haleh Darbar, principal of Everglades High.
It certainly does not look like the last of school. In normal years, teachers and principals would be saying goodbye to their students in the classroom. It’s also not, obviously, a traditional graduation ceremony but it is a send-off to remember.
“It’s like there’s more energy, more vibrant, people are honking horns, cheering, all that stuff,” said senior Matthew Brumfield.
“I’m actually quite happy that we were able to do at least something for the class of 2020,” added classmate James McKnight.
So think of everything that class of 2020 has gone through: an unprecedented pandemic shut their schools down, they had to adjust to distance learning, the economy crashed, and now there’s widespread social unrest and demonstrations.
"Yeah, it’s something I’ll definitely tell my kids some day,” said senior Alexis Feito.
“What I will tell them is that no matter what the situation is you need to learn coping skills and cope with it and make the best out of the situation,” Darbar said.
It feels like today’s graduates are living through a chapter in their social studies books.
“I totally agree, I think this is something that’s historic for many reasons, not only what we’ve gone through in this pandemic but what is happening in this country,” said School Board Member Patricia Good, who was at the parade.
History is happening and the graduates are rolling right into it. Superintendent Robert Runcie said via FaceTime that it’s time for this generation to rise to this occasion.
“And these are the moments that create that passion, create that purpose, create that interest, and I encourage all of our kids, and I know there are days when they’re struggling, to use this moment to really sit back and reflect on what you want the future to look like and what role and purpose do you want to have in having a positive impact on society,” Runcie said. “I think these kids are up to the challenge.”
The class of 2020 has shown it’s resilient, it can adapt, and it can overcome challenges. The world needs young people with those qualities now more than ever.