The tradition of graduating high school seniors walking the halls of their original school community continued this year, but in a very different way.
Seniors who attended Stone Academy for elementary school had in past years been invited to lead fifth graders out of the building on the last day of school, down the hallways to riotous applause from students, faculty and parents. Last year dozens of graduating alumni donned their caps and gowns and returned to participate in the annual rite of passage.
This year, the “clap out” followed a 1.5-mile parade route that started at Stone Academy and proceeded on North Main Street to the Northgate Soda Shop. North Main residents lined steps and sidewalks in folding chairs, many with signs and pompoms, waving and cheering to about 40 graduating seniors in decorated convertibles, trucks and golf carts. Neighbors commented that they were excited to have plans for a Friday night, many setting up personal tailgates in front of their homes.
“The parade was a way for us to safely commemorate all of our accomplishments with our tight-knit North Main community,” said Holly Bruccoliere, a graduating senior at Greenville High School. “The end of this year has been much different than I ever expected it to be, but I’m so glad they’re still finding ways to celebrate.”
Her mom, Ann Bruccoliere, along with five other parents, quickly planned the parade after it was announced schools would not physically re-open this year.
“We thought it was an easy, fun plan. The seniors who attended Stone Academy were so looking forward to going back in cap and gown. We hated for them to miss yet another celebration of their senior year and wanted to plan something along the same lines to honor them,” said Ann Bruccoliere.
City Councilman John DeWorken learned of the parade from a post his wife saw on Facebook and wanted to help. He connected organizers with City of Greenville Police Chief J.H. Thompson about providing an escort. The parade was led by a police escort in cars and motorcycles and was followed by a fire truck.
“These young people deserve all our accolades as they begin their adult journey in this world,” said DeWorken. “Thanks to the parents who led this effort, we had the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating seniors.”