Waxahachie, TX - Having your school close your senior year of high school in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis is definitely disappointing for students and their families. That’s why Life High School Waxahachie (LHSW) wanted to find a new way to celebrate the class of 2020.
Last Friday, teachers and staff lined the LHSW parking lot in a tailgate-style celebration while seniors picked up their caps and gowns.
“My goal was to figure out how to get the cap and gown to our seniors without breaking CDC guidelines,” explained Alysa Shull, LHSW 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 said. “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.
Seniors circulated through the route, sharing a moment of solidarity with their teachers, lifting their spirits in a time of uncertainty.
“The seniors and their parents were extremely joyful about seeing their teachers, counselors, and the admin team there,” said LHSW Principal Kim Riepe. “What a special group of seniors we had this year. 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!”
Whitely knew they had accomplished their goal when the students and families drove back through the cheer line. “We made them smile. We gave them hope. And most of all, we showed them without a doubt that they are loved,” Whiteley said.
Though the Class of 2020 has overcome difficult obstacles over the last few months, Shull applauds the seniors for handling quarantine with resilience.
“This Class of 2020 is resilient. They are prepared. They are ready. They won’t let life’s obstacles and setbacks stop them in their tracks,” she said. “This experience has hopefully taught them to go around the obstacles they face in life, overcome, and conquer.”
Whiteley agreed. “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.”
About Life School
Life School opened as an open-enrollment public charter school in 1998 and has schools in Carrollton, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Red Oak, and Waxahachie. The mission of Life School is to develop leaders with life skills through strong academics, character training, and partnerships with parents and the community.