MARYSVILLE — High school seniors are missing the traditional milestones this year — prom, graduation and sporting events — but Marysville has a chance Friday night to honor its graduates.
Seniors from all four Marysville School District high schools are invited to participate in a socially distanced parade, starting at 6:30 p.m. Those who live in the city are also encouraged to cheer on the students from the sidelines while keeping space between one another to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Students who would like to join must be in a car and have a driver who is not a senior. Decorations are allowed, but the driver’s view must be clear. Participants are instructed to meet at 5:45 p.m. at Marysville Pilchuck High School.
While the school district is supportive, it is not associated with the event, spokesperson Jodi Runyon said.
Nine women with ties to the schools planned the event in just over a week. People have come together to volunteer and donate money to provide the teens with flowers and refreshments, organizer Jennifer Schmidt said.
Schmidt started talking with another parent, Anna Doll, about putting something together for the graduates.
Their daughters, Peyton Schmidt and Alivia Doll, are both graduating from Marysville Getchell High School. The two are attending Washington State University next year and plan to be roommates.
Peyton Schmidt is also in Running Start at Everett Community College.
“There’s a lot of sadness about the loss of their senior year,” Jennifer Schmidt said. “Running Start students, they are already on the disconnected side. For my daughter, she was looking forward to prom and the moving-up assembly — she’s really trying hard to stay positive.”
Schmidt and the rest of the group wanted to mark the occasion. While it’s mostly for the students, she also sees it as an event for parents who won’t be able to experience their children walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.
“We have to do something for these kids because they aren’t getting the recognition that every senior needs,” Schmidt said. “It’s a huge accomplishment and rite of passage.”
About 700 students are graduating from Marysville schools, but the group has no way of telling how many will show up for the parade, organizer Rachel Loertscher said. Her daughters attend Legacy High School, but are not seniors this year.
The parade route starts at Marysville Pilchuck. Cars will then be directed to Marysville Getchell High School using 67th Avenue NE and Ingraham Boulevard. From there the procession will move south on 83rd Avenue NE, west on 64th Street NE and Fourth Street, then north on 27th Avenue NE, past Heritage and Legacy high schools.
All other traffic is to continue as normal, with no road closures. Because of that, all participants must wear seat belts and may not stand through sunroofs or sit in truck beds, police have said.
City officials are not involved with the parade, but on Tuesday Mayor Jon Nehring proclaimed June as Class of 2020 Month in Marysville.
“I encourage all residents to show your school pride and support for graduating high school seniors, their parents and families in your neighborhood,” he wrote.
Marysville students received their diplomas this week. Graduates visited their schools individually while wearing caps and gowns.
Once there, photo and video was taken for an online graduation ceremony that’s expected to happen at a later date, said Runyon, the district spokesperson. All updates will be posted to the district website.
Schmidt hopes people turn out Friday to show support for the seniors.
“Have signs, clap for the kids, cheer them on,” she said. “Wish them good luck in their futures, because the first 13 years is tough, and it only gets better.”
If you go
Marysville seniors and their drivers should meet at 5:45 p.m. Friday at Marysville Pilchuck High School, 5611 108th St. NE. No registration is necessary.
The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Find more information online at Facebook.com/MSVL2020SeniorParade.