Canal Winchester graduates celebrate with drive through town

JACK McLAUGHLIN
lcochran@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

The Canal Winchester High School senior class missed out on a number of important milestones due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but district officials still made sure to send graduates out with one final celebration: a senior parade held May 27.

Superintendent James Sotlar said the parade was intended to replace the school's traditional senior walk. As such, it was held at the same time the walk had been scheduled before being canceled.

District officials were concerned that the class of 2020 was unable to experience many commencement-related events because schools were closed, and that was a motivating factor in planning the parade.

"The class of 2020 was robbed of a lot of yearly traditions -- robbed of prom, robbed of the opportunity to be with friends on a daily basis," high school principal Kirk Henderson said.

"They lost the opportunity to learn face-to-face from some of the best educators in the state. Students lost the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and participate in a traditional graduation ceremony."

The parade started at Winchester Trail Elementary School at 8:30 a.m. May 27, where students began lining up in their personal vehicles. From Winchester Trail, the parade proceeded east on Groveport Road into downtown Canal Winchester, turned west at the corner of High and West Columbus streets, then continued south on Washington Street past Canal Winchester High School before dispersing.

Henderson deemed the parade a "huge success" and said it was well-attended by community onlookers, something that provided a moment of community solidarity with the class of 2020.

"The parade was a way for not only our seniors and their parents to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2020, but for our community to celebrate with them and show support," Henderson said.

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