OGDEN, Utah – On what would have been Bonneville High School’s graduation day, hundreds of friends, family and community members decked out their cars and joined in on a parade – giving their senior class a send-off to remember.
“There’s a lot I could say, high school has definitely changed my life,” said Bonneville High School salutatorian, Parker Marriott, as he looked back at the school.
“I didn’t really have time to leave, it was just like one day, ‘Yeah, you’re not coming back to high school,’” Parker said. “So, that was really strange.”
For many high school seniors, like Parker, the thought of closing their high school chapter, in the midst of a pandemic, coincides with a lot of emotions.
“I’m kind of sad that we have to graduate like this,” said Parker’s classmate, Boston Nielsen, as he discussed their virtual graduation.
“It sucks not being able to have a typical graduation,” fellow senior, Karly Campbell, commiserated.
But Monday, on what would have been their graduation day, the class of 2020 returned to Bonneville High School for the first time in months.
Hundreds of students, from the 384-person class, met on the sidewalk outside of their old stomping grounds.
Each donned their cap, gown, medal, chords and tassels as they were instructed to stand ‘a block and a half’ apart – as denoted by the lines on the walkway.
“I think this will be something to remember,” Parker said with a grin.
At 6 o’clock sharp, it started – the graduation they never expected. In the distance, horns blared on a South Ogden Fire truck; more than a hundred cars followed closely behind.
One-by-one, hundreds of friends, family members and community supporters, drove passed the graduates.
Some cars were decorated in posters, streamers and confetti – while others honked, blared music and threw candy for the graduates.
“When I say ‘Bonneville’ you say ‘Lakers!’” One woman shouted at the graduates from her car as she cheered them on in true Laker fashion.
“I think it’s original and no one else will be able to say they had this go on for their graduation,” said graduate McKinlee Smith.
“I was really worried that we weren’t going to find that closure, but I think we will after tonight,” said Karly Campbell.
Creating one last, big send-off for the class of 2020.
“Once a Laker, always a Laker!” A group of students cheered before they threw their caps in the air.