Summit class of 2020 to participate in celebratory graduation motorcade
BRECKENRIDGE — High school seniors around the world have had to make myriad sacrifices to help keep their respective communities safe amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, forgoing a traditional prom, cutting short their final athletic endeavors and having to graduate virtually.
But in Summit County, officials and community members have come together to give the class of 2020 a memorable send-off.
On Thursday, May 21, community members are invited to Main Street in Breckenridge to take part in a celebratory motorcade procession to honor the senior class.
“It’s a really great thing for these kids,” Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said. “They’re losing out on a lot of things that most of us had when we graduated high school. … I think it’s important the community rallies together for this kind of thing. That’s the kind of county we have, where everybody pulls together. I think it’s awesome, and it’s something to remember as they graduate and move on to the next phases of their lives.”
The motorcade will kick off at 3 p.m. Thursday, and registered participants — seniors, many with parents or others serving as their drivers — will make their way down Main Street waving to spectators lining the route. The procession will start at North French and North Main Street, and continue south toward the Tiger Dredge parking lot where it will conclude.
Community members are invited to spectate inside their vehicles along Main Street and are asked to arrive via South Main Street from South Park Avenue from 1-2:45 p.m. Once parked, spectators must remain in place until the event is finished, though there will be public restrooms available. Police will be on scene to assist with parking and helping cars file out, along with ensuring compliance with event rules and current public health orders and Colorado Department of Education guidelines.
The idea for the motorcade came together quickly. Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said he was approached by parents hoping to see some sort of fanfare surrounding their students’ graduation. The Sheriff’s Office spearheaded the effort, pulling in resources and support from the county, towns, Summit School District, other public safety agencies and more to make it a reality.
“There isn’t anyone who didn’t want to be a part of this,” FitzSimons said. “I think it will be even more memorable than sitting in an auditorium in chairs. This is really going to be a show. Public safety agencies are going to put cars in the event, and we’re going to have color guard leading things off. … It’s going to be spectacular. I think the kids will look back on this and think it’s a cooler version than what they could have imagined.”
Other groups also have come together to help make it a special occasion, including more than 15 members of the Breckenridge Restaurant Association that will be delivering food to spectators’ cars.
Spectators also can listen to a playlist of songs selected by the seniors from 1-3 p.m. on KSMT The Mountain, and Krystal 93 will be broadcasting the event on the station’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.
The Summit Daily News also is inviting community members to share notes of encouragement for the class — which should be sent by Friday to firstname.lastname@example.org — that will be published Saturday, the day of Summit High School’s virtual graduation ceremony.
“This is an opportunity to do something for the kids of this community and for our community at large,” FitzSimons said. “This is something that will not only finalize the year for the seniors, but it’s happening at the same time we’re starting to reopen the community. So I’m hoping this is also a way to bring some closure to some of the trauma we’ve experienced during this COVID-19 epidemic. There’s been a lot of community trauma. But this is a happy, joyous event everyone can come to and do a little healing.”
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As the Summit School District prepares for all online instruction, adults are focusing their attention on the health and well-being of the students.