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COVID ushers in new celebrations for graduating seniors

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The coronavirus pandemic has thrown almost everything into question. Celebrated traditions we thought would always have a place on the calendar, now, may not. This includes High school graduation ceremonies. 

In Cadillac, seniors participated in a car parade on the day they would have participated in a traditional ceremony. 

The time honored Pomp and circumstance is the musical accompaniment  to countless graduation ceremonies.  

But for Cadillac High School and Cadillac Innovation Seniors, the commencement melody was the sound of honking horns. 

“It’s really sweet. I like that everybody is trying their hardest. The parade is definitely, it’s cute, I like it,” said Cadillac High School Senior Claire Smith.

When we caught up with Claire she was helping to put finishing touches on her parade vehicle. Her ride sported a sign with the words Congratulations Claire Smith Class of 2020. It was also adorned with blue and gold streamers. 

Claire says she doesn’t feel slighted by the postponement of a traditional ceremony or the halt of other school events.
 

“Not a big deal. They are still trying their very best. It gives us an interesting thing to talk about,” she said. 

Over in the parking lot of the school that sits at the start of the parade route, we found the parents of Cadillac High School Senior Drew Conradson.

“Still waiting on our senior to get here,” said Jeff Conradson. 

The duo was taping a cardboard sign with Drew’s name and blue and yellow streamers on the front of their army green colored jeep. 

Alicia Conradson pulled out a t-shirt with the words “Seniors 2020 Class of Quarantine” on it. 

“They are unique,” she said. “It’s not like you - can’t do much about it so you just make the best of it.”

Across the parking lot, a white jeep displayed a sign with the words Eastern 2024 in green letters.

That’s where Cadillac High School Senior Susie Huckle will be going to school in the fall.  

“Losing track season for sure was the worst for me, definitely. But I’m actually running at Eastern next year so I’ll get another shot,” she said. 

Susie says the pandemic brought her peers closer together. 

“I’m glad that I went through it with the people I went through it with. I learned a lot to

never take any moment for granted because you don’t know when it’s going to be your last time,” she said. 

As cars sounded their horns along the streets of Cadillac, it signaled the triumphant tune of Cadillac’s so called quarantine class forever glued together by a virus that uprooted their lives. 

The Superintendent of Cadillac schools says the district has two alternative days set aside for a traditional ceremony. One is in June and one in July.