Parkrose High again hosts outdoor graduation ceremony

INCLUDES VIDEO See how the Bronco seniors got their sendoff this year at this outer East Portland graduation, in Parkrose …

Family members gather at the school’s campus, as the 2021 Parkrose High School graduation gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Unlike 2020, when Parkrose High School (PHS) held their graduation as a June “drive-through” experience – a no-touch event, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – the ceremony this year took place on the school’s campus, although it was outdoors. Last year the weather was showery; this time the it was balmy on June 9 for the big event.

But vehicles still did play a part this year. Before entering the high school campus through the northeast driveway, families – in their vehicles – paraded their graduates around the Parkrose neighborhood, making it this year a “hybrid drive-through” observance.

After finishing the ceremonial tour of the neighborhood streets, the 2021 Parkrose High Graduates Car Parade enters the school’s campus.

Ready to bestow diplomas upon the graduating seniors, here’s Parkrose High Principal Molly Ouche, accompanied by Assistant Principal Andre Goodlow.

“Today, we are celebrating our incredible class of 2021; we have 256 seniors graduating – and, a lot of Honor Students in this class, as well,” announced Parkrose High School Principal Molly Ouche.

“What makes it special for us is that these students have had one of the most challenging years in any senior class could have,” observed Ouche. “It’s fun to have a moment to celebrate with them, when we have been physically distanced from them for so long.

26-year PHS government and economics instructor, Richard English, announces each graduate as they approach the stage.

“And we’re glad we are able to do a little bit more for our graduates, than were able to last year,” Ouche told East Portland News.

The “little bit more” to which Ouche referred was that the diplomas were presented in person – albeit outdoors.

On stage with Principal Ouche, 2021 PHS grad Nia Carter pauses for a photo.

Due to the state’s having relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, as families drove along the east side of PHS, their graduates were able to exit their vehicles. Then, slipping on the traditional caps and gowns, the students walked over to the stairs of a covered platform that had been erected for the ceremony – there to receive their diplomas from Principal Ouche.

Then the newly-minted grads continued walking south along the driveway, along which they were cheered by the school’s instructors and staff, as each one’s family’s vehicle followed.

Smiling, while standing in the reception line, is Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes-Serrao.

“Congratulations to the class of 2021,” exclaimed Parkrose Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao. “Their resilience and leadership this past year make all of us proud. This class of students will continue to impress many, as they pursue their postsecondary opportunities.”

Although there wasn’t a “Senior All-Night Party” this year, the grads and their families were able to re-lived the day remotely at their homes, because a video made during the ceremony was replayed online for them. And, each of the honorees received a photo of their graduation.

We congratulate the 2021 Parkrose High School graduates!

> On our Front Page: 2021 Parkrose High School grad Delaney Fischer receives her diploma.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

 

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