By Jason Wesseldyk
After the COVID pandemic wreaked havoc on the Class of 2020’s final days at Otsego High School, school officials wanted to do something special to recognize the grit those students showed during that difficult time.
Thus the school held a Senior Parade, during which students traveled down Washington Street from Memorial Park to the high school, with the street lined with family and friends showing their support.
“Immediately after that first parade, we realized that it was such a blast that we should keep it going,” OHS principal Herve Dardis said. “And many kids and adults told us that same thing in 2020.”
As a result, the Senior Parade is now part of the school’s celebration of the senior class each year, with the parade for the Class of 2022 taking place on Sunday, May 22.
“The kids said it was fun,” Dardis said. “They especially liked seeing all the decorations, cruising through the parade with music and marking the official kick-off of sending the seniors out into the world.
“Our kids just got their caps and gowns Thursday, so the parade was the first-class event for them to mark the end of high school.”
The school will also honor the seniors with Senior Swingout, Senior Awards Night and Grad Bash, before wrapping up the celebrations with the commencement ceremony on Friday, June. 3.
This year’s Senior Parade was a bit different for Dardis—as the other senior-centered events will be—as this will be the final graduating class during his tenure as principal. He will be retiring at the end of the school year following 22 years in his current role.
“This year was bittersweet, he said. “I am looking forward to spending more time with my grandkids, but I will miss the spirit and the pride that our kids and community have in our schools here in Otsego.
“I have believed this every day for the past 22 years: Otsego has the greatest kids in the world.”