COMMERCE — The dates for end-of-year activities are still up in the air for seniors at Commerce High School thanks to COVID-19.
But they did get to celebrate on what would have been graduation day Sunday, May 3, with a parade.
Led by Commerce police and fire department personnel, members of the Class of 2020 drove a route that snaked through town and ended up at the intersection of Mantle and Main streets.
It started at 4 p.m. in front of the high school gymnasium, which was when and where commencement ceremonies were to have been held.
“I am glad we got to do this little thing,” said River Friel, who is the Class of ’20 valedictorian. “I am glad that we still have a graduation and prom (planned). Hopefully all this virus goes away and things will work out.”
The parade started at the high school then followed Mickey Mantle Blvd., went by Alexander Elementary and worked its way east on Main Street.
Seniors were recognized as they passed by the Board of Education office on Main Street.
Family members and supporters lined the streets along the parade route, many holding up signs in support.
School officials have set two different sets of dates for the high school prom and middle and high school graduations.
Both hinge on Center for Disease Control-recommended social distancing directives.
The first dates would be June 25 for the prom, eighth-grade promotion June 26 and CHS graduation June28.
The other alternative would be the prom on July 16, eighth-grade promotion on July 17 and high school graduation two days later.
Either date, the prom will be held at Rustic Oaks.
What made things frustrating for Friel and other spring sports athletes at Commerce was the fact that baseball, soccer and track seasons were cancelled by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association — both baseball and soccer after four games and track before its season could start.
“I had soccer, but it is what it is,” said Friel, who earned honorable mention all-state recognition in District 3A-3.
“It’s crazy. We’d still be in school right now, but it is what it is,” said senior Caleb Pittman.
CHS principal Rusty Barker said this potentially could be the start of a tradition.
“It’s just a little way to honor our seniors,” he said. “Hopefully we still get to have our face-to-face graduation in either late June or mid-July.”