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Chalk Talk: Senior parade is a resounding success

I want to take a moment on behalf of the Bromfield School and the Class of 2020 to thank all of the people who made the first-ever senior parade so successful. It has been a spring of great challenges on so many levels. COVID-19 has affected the community in more ways than anyone can imagine. The Class of 2020 certainly missed out on many time-honored traditions—prom, Celebration, class day, and the senior-staff basketball game are just a few things that spring to mind. The Class of 2020 was having a banner senior year in so many ways. Most of all, the students were a wonderful group to have in school each day. When school was closed on March 14, I never thought we would be out for the rest of the year. Even as more and more events were canceled, the class remained cooperative and helpful. As a result, it became very important to so many at Bromfield that we find ways to honor and celebrate this outstanding group of seniors.

Organizing all of the logistics of the parade took an army of people. First, Dr. Linda Dwight and the Harvard School Committee not only approved the plan but also were enthusiastic supporters. Next, Associate Principal Robin Benoit and Dean of Students Julie Horton handled all of the logistics, including mapping the parade route and making sure everyone remained safe (the best example being that each senior be driven by a parent or other designated driver). Fire Chief Rick Sicard and Police Chief Ed Denmark helped us publicize the event and also ensured that we had the right approach. Of course, no parade is complete without firetrucks and police cars with sirens and horns, and both departments readily volunteered their time to ensure we had a great atmosphere on the day of the parade. Finally, I want to give a special thank-you to Hildreth Elementary School Principal Josh Myler, HES Associate Principal Dori Pulizzi, and Class of 2020 advisor Janis Dyer for helping to organize the caps and gowns at the end of the parade when Robin and I were “forced” to ride in fire trucks by Chief Sicard.

The Celebration Committee of parents added an extra special touch by creating a goody bag for each car, enhancing the fun immensely. This group organized the effort, assembled the bags, and gave them to the seniors just before they embarked on the parade. The Harvard Lions Club should also be commended for sewing and stitching the special edition “Bromfield Class of 2020” masks that were in the goody bags.

While waiting for the parade to begin, the students immediately expressed their excitement at seeing the teachers and staff at both schools. The turnout from both the Bromfield School and Hildreth Elementary School along the route and at the schools was simply terrific.

Community support ‘amazing’

The community support for the Class of 2020 throughout the parade route was amazing. The signs and cheers are something the students will remember for the rest of their lives. It seemed like the whole town turned out to cheer our seniors, and that really helped turn the parade into a true community event.

I would be remiss if I did not thank the Harvard PTO, which generously gave money toward having each student get a professional picture of themselves receiving their cap and gown at the end of the parade. I also want to thank Lisa Aciukewicz for readily agreeing to create this special memory for the seniors. I also want to express appreciation to Bromfield’s junior class, which donated the signs that were on the General Store and by the “rock,” and the Clark family, who donated the sign hanging across Massachusetts Avenue.

The final thank you is to the Bromfield Class of 2020. Your enthusiastic participation helped foster the excitement of all. Your cars were so festive and your smiles and laughter were truly contagious. The graduation ceremony on July 31 will hopefully be able to match last Friday night.

I have always said that Bromfield, the Harvard Public Schools, and the town of Harvard form a very special community. The senior parade certainly proved it. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The village has never been more important than right now. I am certain of one thing: Our seniors have been raised by an extraordinary village.

Scott Hoffman is principal at the Bromfield School.

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