They won’t get to finish their last two months of school or enjoy one last walk down the halls.
They likely won’t have their prom and possibly a proper graduation ceremony.
And after four years of high school with one another, there’s a strong chance they won’t all be together at once again.
That’s why the senior class officers at Denham Springs High School are planning a senior-led parade through various neighborhoods in the city on Friday, May 8.
It may be their final opportunity to do something together, Class President Kate Thompson told The News.
“A lot of sad things have happened for our class, like no senior prom and possibly graduation,” Thompson said. “I think our class is doing well with it. We’re all staying in touch with social media and trying to make the best of it.
“But we may never be able to be together again. That’s why we wanted to do the senior parade. It’ll give us a chance to see each other.”
To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards shuttered all schools statewide for a month in mid-March before later extending that closure through the rest of the 2019-20 school year.
For seniors in the Class of 2020, their final day of high school was officially March 13, about two months sooner than expected.
Locally, graduation ceremonies for the nine Livingston Parish high schools have been postponed until at least June, Superintendent Joe Murphy announced last week.
Murphy said the district is hoping to provide “some sort of modified graduation ceremonies on our campuses” or other available venues during the summer, but if governmental restrictions don’t allow for public gatherings, the district “will look to virtual opportunities,” Murphy said.
“[We hope] to provide a meaningful experience for our graduating seniors,” the superintendent said in a video last week.
With their graduation ceremonies up in the air, DSHS seniors decided to celebrate the Class of 2020 in their own way, and a parade in which students can see each other without coming in direct contact with one another fit the bill.
Thompson said she and the other class officers — Caeden May, Brinley Williamson, and Emily Kolb — began talking about the possibility of organizing a senior parade last month, after Thompson came across stories of other senior classes across the country doing their own.
Thompson then polled her senior class followers on social media to see who’d be interested, and nearly 70 said they would be. Thompson made the official announcement on Wednesday and within one day she had “50 to 60” seniors text her saying they plan to take part in the parade.
She expects that number to grow over the next week.
“I think we’ll all be just excited to get out of the house,” Thompson said with a laugh.
The seniors will meet at a to-be-determined location around 1:30 p.m. before the parade starts at 2 p.m. The plan is to drive on Range Avenue through the Antique Village before going through a few select neighborhoods in the city, though plans had not been solidified at the time of this report.
Thompson said seniors must remain in their cars "at all times," from the moment the parade starts until it is over to adhere to social distancing guidelines. People also won’t be allowed to throw anything from their vehicles. Administration is not involved with the parade, Thompson said.
“This is all being organized by students,” said Thompson, who said the seniors will have a police escort. “We’re just gonna be driving through the neighborhoods and waving and giving our parents a chance to take pictures.”
Seniors will be allowed to decorate their vehicles in Denham Springs High colors or in the colors of their future colleges. She expects many to have posters and other creative touches, as well.
“It’s going to be fun,” Thompson said. “It’ll be fun to see everyone again before we go our separate ways.”