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Thousands of residents lined South Avenue, Main Street and the road through Waveny on Monday to cheer on the New Canaan High School class of 2020 during a special parade to mark their graduation.
Holding signs, horns and bells and waving from the side of the road along a four-mile route on a picture-perfect summer day, the community came out in full force to celebrate seniors whose final weeks of school and traditional graduation ceremony were disrupted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Dressed in traditional white and red cap-and-gown, the smiling seniors waved from inside and atop a line of more than 250 cars decorated with their names and in some cases, photos, black and red balloons, NCHS slogans such as “From Lambs to Rams” and the colleges and universities they’ll enter come fall. Escorted by police, fire and EMS, the parade of cars started at NCHS, where the high school band played them out from a parking lot near Farm Road, then followed South Avenue into the downtown, back out by Main Street and up Farm Road to South Avenue and then through Waveny, where teachers, faculty and administrators with their own families cheered them on.
In many cases, the seniors could be seen crying as they waved goodbye to their teachers, who lined the main road through Waveny near its Lapham Road exit. “I am so excited,” senior Sofia Delicata said at the NCHS staging area. “I feel like I’ve graduated six times because I’ve put this outfit on so many times. But I’m happy it’s finally here and now I can be with all my friends.”
Her fellow NCHS 2020 graduate, William Dantini, said the community-wide parade made the class stand out and was “unique.”
“I think it’s cool because we are like the one year that has a different graduation from everybody else,” he said.