While graduating high school seniors can't walk across the stage to receive their diplomas surrounded by friends and family this year, they will be able to celebrate via a socially distanced, Palo Alto-wide car parade on Wednesday.
Seniors from Palo Alto and Gunn high schools and the private Castilleja and Kehillah schools are invited to participate in the parade, the school district announced Friday. Santa Clara County leaders rolled back restrictions this month to allow drive-through celebrations and car parades in time for high school graduations.
"We know that it has been a challenging end to their high school years. We want to honor the seniors' hard work and the joy of finishing high school," school leaders wrote in a message to students and families.
On Wednesday, June 3, at 5:30 p.m., there will be first a citywide "shout-out" during which the district encourages anyone who lives in Palo Alto to make noise in their front yards to celebrate seniors by singing, chanting, cheering or banging pots and pans. Some seniors will put signs outside their homes so people can find the graduates in their neighborhoods.
At 5:45 p.m., seniors and their families can get in their cars for the parade, which will run in a clockwise route around Palo Alto. People are encouraged to join the route at the closest entry point; a map of the route is available here. The district worked with the city and police department on the parade plans.
Recognizing that not all seniors may have access to a car, the district is asking anyone in that situation to fill out this form by Monday, June 1, to be able to participate in the parade.
Under guidelines from the Santa Clara County Health Department only members of the same household can be in a single car, and people cannot leave their cars at any time during the parade. Cars cannot congregate, and bikes and motorcycles are not allowed. People who want to cheer the seniors on or watch the parade must wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.