Commentary: A Senior Reflects on The Class of 2020 Parade

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A car decorated for the occasion.

Autumn Hendrickson ('20)

On the morning of May 23, 2020, the day of the Class of 2020’s Senior Parade, I came downstairs to find a sight I haven’t seen in almost three years: a sunshower. A grin spread across my face and I walked outside, almost as if I were in a trance. I held out my arms to feel the warm rain hit my skin, and I knew in that moment that this was going to be a good day. I could just feel it.

Both me and my moms were filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety as we loaded ourselves into my car, streamers blowing out behind us as we started to move down the driveway. I guess the reality of it all hadn’t hit me just yet, because when I saw Ms. Theriault there checking our tickets in the Jordan’s Furniture parking lot, and I saw the long lines of motorcycles all surrounded by police officers, I found myself feeling a little emotional.

I kept thinking to myself, “Have they really done all of this just for us?” Obviously, the answer to the question was clear, but I guess it was just hard for me to wrap my head around it. It was just a matter of time before the whole parking lot had filled up with my fellow graduates, and then as though there had been no wait at all, suddenly we were moving.

Reading firefighters cheer during RMHS senior parade.

We hadn’t even gotten to the main road when we saw the first groups of people waving us on and yelling their congratulations. Every part of the sidewalk seemed to be full of love, of joy, of kindness, of happy people and faces smiling behind masks. The importance of the moment was not lost on anyone, and it was a great reminder for me of just why I love this little town of Reading so very much. How lucky we are, as seniors, to feel the love of an entire town shower down on us much like the sunshower that fell through the trees in my backyard that morning. How lucky we are to have known these streets, to have known the faces of the teachers who lined the road through the high school, to feel loved and celebrated in a time of so much uncertainty, how lucky we are… At the end of the day, I don’t really think that I should have been surprised by all the love that was in the air that day, or all the pride that seemed to radiate from some of the onlookers. After all, this is Reading.

So, as this school year comes to a close for the Seniors of Reading Memorial High School, and the sun sets on our last year in this district, I think it ought to be said, that never have I met more people that love their jobs, the people around them, the students in their charge, and the buildings in which they work, than I have met in the Reading Public Schools. I, for one, know that I am proud to be a Reading Memorial High School senior, and I believe that most all of my classmates are too, especially after the amazing parade on Saturday.