Life High School Waxahachie’s ‘Drive-In Parade’ Lifts Spirits for Class of 2020

Teachers surprised seniors with a tailgate-style celebration during COVID-19.

Amid Greg Abbott’s closure of schools due to COVID-19, Life High School Waxahachie hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to celebrating its Class of 2020.

Last Friday, teachers and staff lined the LHSW parking lot in tailgate-style while seniors picked up their graduation regalia. “​My goal was to figure out how to get the cap and gown to our seniors without breaking CDC guidelines,” explained Alysa Shull, Senior Counselor.

Brainstorming a plan to reconnect with their seniors during a staff meeting, Assistant Principal, Kelsey Whiteley, proposed the idea for the drive-in parade in conjunction with Shull’s regalia delivery. “The staff’s response was immediately supportive,” Whiteley recognized. “We have an amazing staff that loves our students very much.”

From the counseling and administrative support team handling distribution to the athletics team coordinating the parade route, and the facilities crew continuing to sanitize the school grounds – staff members filled the parking lot in pep-rally fashion. “​The creativity put into the car décor and poster decoration was top-notch. Everyone showed up in spirit attire,” Whiteley said.

Practicing social distancing, staff and students were mindful to stay six-feet apart as air high-fives and pantomimed hugs were given. “​The seniors and their parents were extremely joyful about seeing their teachers, counselors, and the admin team there,” recalled Principal, Kim Riepe.

“The students were crying, parents were crying and trying to film,” Shull added. “Some students came around twice just to experience the parade again! My inbox was full of students sending thank you emails […] it means so much.”

Seniors circulated through the route, sharing a moment of solidarity with their teachers, lifting their spirits in a time of uncertainty. “​We knew we had accomplished our goal – we made them smile. We gave them hope. And most of all, we showed them ​without a doubt ​ that they are loved,” Whiteley stated.

Though the Class of 2020 has overcome difficult obstacles within the last few months, Shull applauds the seniors for handling quarantine with resilience. “This Class of 2020 is resilient! You are prepared. You are ready. Don’t let life’s obstacles and setbacks stop you in your tracks. You have to learn to go around the obstacle, overcome, and conquer,” she encouraged.

“They have and will continue to overcome the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020,” Whiteley emphasized. “This generation of students will go down in history. Their kids and grandkids will be learning about them from history books in their own classrooms one day. My prayer for all of them is that they live a long prosperous life, so they can tell their stories to the world.”

“What a special group of seniors we had this year,” Riepe agreed. “I’ve always thought Life School students stand out among others, for good reasons, but we are going to have some students from this graduating class that do extraordinary things. Mark my words!”

To learn more about Life School, visit ​their website here, or call (469) 850-5433.


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