Car parade gives QHS Class of 2020 a chance to celebrate graduation

Jaden Knipe rides atop a van in Quincy High School's Class of 2020 parade down Maine Street on Saturday, May 23. The event encouraged students to decorate their vehicles and wear their cap and gowns to celebrate graduation.
Katelyn Metzger1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 24, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY — With a sign, a lawn chair and a prime spot along Maine Street, Bryan Obert was all ready for a parade.

The incoming seventh-grader joined other family members on Saturday to cheer on his sister Kyia Obert and other members of the Quincy High School Class of 2020 in a car parade to celebrate their graduation.

Kyia waved and smiled on her way down the street in a long line of vehicles including scooters, a Model T Ford and a Case IH tractor.

"I live on a farm, so I'm always working around tractors. I thought it would be pretty cool," said Mario Andino, who steered the tractor down the parade route. "It's a good idea, just one last hurrah, I guess."

Graduation may not have gone exactly as the senior class planned thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they got another chance to celebrate in caps and gowns — at a safe distance — with family and friends.

Julianna Eden helped spearhead the senior class car parade for fellow graduates with well-wishers lining the streets in parked cars, lawn chairs and blankets to cheer them on.

"We wanted to do something special for our class," Eden said.

Inspired by other schools offering similar events, "since we got a lot of things taken away already this year, we wanted to give our class something special to remember," she said.

"Given the current situation, I think it's a nice tribute. The kids have worked hard and deserve to be recognized for their efforts," said Tim Knipe, whose son Jaden graduated in the Class of 2020.

"If this is all they get, I think this is awesome," said Tanya Mero, who turned out to celebrate her daughter Meagan's graduation.

"They haven't seen each other for weeks. It's amazing to see how close they are, how excited they are, just the celebration."

Parade participants lined up at the Crossing — with many in cars specially decorated for the event with balloons, signs and painted windows — then traveled west on Maine, south on 30th, east on State, north on 36th and west again on Maine to pass Quincy High School one more time.

"I thought I might as well bring a car I've been working on," said Jonathan Kuhn, who drove the 1917 Model T freshly painted in Blue Devil blue. "I'm kind of happy we have a parade. It gives us something to do."

Family members and friends pitched in to drive while seniors popped out of sunroofs and leaned out of windows to wave, smile and celebrate.

"I love it. It's really nice to get something special," Maddy Pool said.

"It's something different but still something special to us for sure," graduate Kaleigh Roberts said.

"It's a cool idea," classmate Colsen Stiles said. "With all the stuff that's going on, it's kind of hard to recognize what we're doing but a parade helps."

Eden said county health officials approved the parade, with no more than two people per car.

"We worked very hard and had to contact a lot of people to get this together," Eden said.

For Eden, who plans to attend John Wood Community College next year to study nursing, the parade provided a highlight in a senior year dramatically changed by the pandemic.

"Everybody has talked about the senior class. They feel bad for us," she said.

"This was a good way to come support us and help our senior year be a little better."