Parkrose High seniors enjoy ‘drive-thru’ graduation

Find out here what other celebrations marked the commencement of these ‘Parkrose Broncos’ seniors …

After parading through the neighborhood, the vehicles in which Parkrose High School graduates ride are about to enter the school grounds for the presentation of diplomas.

­Story and photos by David F. Ashton

By all measures, the graduating class of Parkrose High School (PHS) had an unusual year. Concerts, parties, and other events were cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.

Nevertheless, these more than 200 Parkrose Broncos seniors were celebrated – in a couple of different ways – including a “drive-thru graduation” diploma pick-up. held at noon on June 9 at the school.

The grounds of Parkrose High are decorated, celebrating their 2020 graduating class.

Rain showers came and went while the faculty and staff were setting up; but, during the actual procession, the precipitation paused, as if Mother Nature were smiling on these graduates.

On hand to congratulate the seniors was Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao.

Ready to show his appreciation for the 2020 graduating class is Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao.

“Even in these unusual times, it’s important to continue hosting a ceremony, because it provides our students a way for their high school experience to conclude in a positive and celebratory way,” smiled Lopes Serrao.

“Our students did a lot of work to earn graduating from high school,” Lopes Serrao told East Portland News. “This has always been a very special event for us, so we’ve found ways to celebrate as a community, and to honor our kids’ high school experience, here in Parkrose!”

PHS Principal Molly Ouche says she’ll enjoy giving out diplomas to the graduates.

“This school year has definitely been challenging; I feel almost like a first-year Principal, at times, because of the new demands,” said PHS Principal Molly Ouche.

“But our Parkrose families make it easy; and the kids are so gracious, even though the second half of this year is been full of changes and disappointments for them,” Ouche told us. “I, and our entire staff, love our community, and I hope that they can see this reflected in our outdoor ceremony today; this is our goal.”

The school’s Principal went about getting ready to meet the graduates, after they and their families paraded around the neighborhood in their vehicles.

As he says he’s done for many years, PHS instructor Richard English reads the name of each graduate, as they approach to receive the diploma.

After the “car parade”, their vehicles entered the driveway at the northeast end of the school, and slowly drove south, along the PHS Theater building, where they would each hear their name read by longtime PHS government and economics teacher Richard English, and then receive their diploma.

PHS Principal Ouche congratulates another graduate while presenting her with her diploma. Image courtesy of PHS Counselor Tracy Grant

One by one, Parkrose High graduates “drive through” the ceremony. Image courtesy of PHS Counselor Tracy Grant

On their way out, the newly-minted graduates were greeted by a properly socially-distanced version of their “Staff Tunnel” along the driveway, pointed out Ouche.

Later that evening, the school provided an “online ceremony” that Ouche explained was “a traditional commencement program; and included speeches, presentation of honors, and the components that we were not able to incorporate into the [drive-through] event today.”

Congratulations, Parkrose High seniors!

On our Front Page: PHS Principal Molly Ouche delivers to a 2020 graduate her diploma. Image courtesy of PHS Counselor Tracy Grant

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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