Superior High school teachers gathered Friday, April 24 to cheer on seniors as they picked up their Spartan blue caps and gowns. The reverse parade included signs, cheering, a waving flag and a dancing mascot.
The educators wanted to celebrate the students' success and achievements because they don't know when they will see them again in-person, said Bryan Denninger, dean of students.
“We honestly don’t know if we’ll see them again. This might be it," he said.
The rest of their school year will be virtual, as Wisconsin school buildings have been closed for the duration of the academic year by state order. Seniors said the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have made this an awkward time.
“It’s not what we expected at all,” said student Samantha Anderson.
Classmate Luke Persons said he’s focusing on his homework and coming to grips with the fact that high school is over in the physical sense.
Persons said he can keep in touch with friends and teachers, even if he can’t return to SHS.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult to have to deal with this, but I’m just trying to stay positive,” he said.
The teachers enjoyed seeing their students and each other from a distance Friday, as well.
“We miss our kids,” said English teacher Lynn Krause as she held up a sign.
English teacher Emily Kelly shares a children’s book with her senior classes every Friday. She read Sam McBratney’s “Guess How Much I Love You,” from the parking lot of the school as the seniors drove past.
“I miss them crazy much,” Kelly said of her students. “I’ve been trying to find (books) with ‘I love you,’ ‘I miss you’ messages in them.”
Students said they appreciated the teachers’ send-off. A few shed tears as they drove past.
“It’s pretty cool that we have that support,” Persons said.
The cap and gown event was livestreamed by iFan Sports Network, with aerial shots provided by Superior Drone and Video. The event can be viewed on the broadcast service’s Channel 1 archives page.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. on April 27 to correct a video error. It was originally posted at 1:01 p.m. on April 27.