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Winnisquam staff salute the Class of 2020

Members of Winnisquam Regional High School's Class of 2020 donned their caps and gowns to watch a special parade last week, which congratulated them on their accomplishments and sent love and encouragement to younger students in the district. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 28, 2020
WINNISQUAM On Wednesday, May 20, students of the Winnisquam Regional School District waited eagerly in their yards or at the end of their roads for a special parade of teachers and staff who were wishing them well as they also paid tribute to members of the graduating Class of 2020.

Winnisquam High School Administrative Assistant Ryann Riberdy and Principal Matthew Jozokos organized the parade for the seniors but invited employees from all five of the district's schools to join them.

"We started this for the senior class, to show our support for them, but this was also something we felt would be good for the community, the teachers and the staff, too," Riberdy said. "Seeing all three towns in the district come together like this is just awesome!"

Students were notified in advance of the route the parade would take through Tilton, Northfield and Sanbornton, and the seniors were asked to wear their caps and gowns for the event.

Lead by not only police from all three towns, but a decorated school bus and both Sanbornton and Tilton-Northfield fire departments as well, nearly 90 vehicles headed out at 1 p.m. that day, blowing their horns, cheering and ringing cow bells as they went. Balloons, window paintings, a Winnisquam Bear mascot, and plenty of colorful signs could be seen on each. While the high school teachers and coaches congratulated the graduating class and wished them all the best in the future, younger students had messages of love, hope and encouragement from the teachers who miss them, too.

Along the route, boys and girls, family members and interested residents lined the roads. Many had signs of their own to send messages back to the teachers as they passed by.

And, when a member of the Class of 2020 was spotted, the caravan paused to toss a carnation and throw candy.

Senior Cheyanne Baker enjoyed the parade, saying it was something special for her class at a time when so much has been missed out on due to the public health concerns. Classmate Jayson Shevlin was also watching from a corner in Northfield with graduation balloons and his personalized yard sign that each of the seniors received.

"It was good to see everyone," he commented as the last vehicle drove by. "With this being the situation we have to deal with right now, it's nice that they're thinking of ways to celebrate us in our last year of high school."

Over in Sanbornton, an enthusiastic group of graduates waited on Burleigh Hill Road to see the parade.

"It's really nice of the teachers and staff to do this today," said Kyle Hinds. "They've all been supporting us and doing what they can to make it the best it can be right now. I appreciate that!"

An official, but perhaps modified graduation ceremony for WRHS has been tentatively scheduled for June 26.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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