Though Peru Community Schools have officially opted to move this year’s graduation ceremony, school and city officials are asking that residents make an effort to honor the Class of 2020 with a special event on the night they would have walked for their diplomas.
Peru High School Principal Paul Frye said he doesn’t want to call the event a “parade,” but the seniors are going to have an opportunity to roll collectively down Main Street and Broadway, with a police escort on May 29 at 7 p.m.
“This had been in the works,” Frye told the Tribune on Thursday. “Luckily enough the Mayor and the Chief of Police worked with me.”
Frye said he was waiting to officially announce plans until the Peru School Board made its official decision to postpone this year’s graduation ceremony until later in the summer.
They did that at their Monday night meeting, voting to hold it on July 31.
That was one of three dates that Peru Superintendent Sam Watkins said earlier this month that he planned to present to the Board as they looked for ways to hold a ceremony amid health concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Maconaquah and North Miami school corporations have already announced they will hold their ceremonies on July 11 and July 12 respectively.
Peru Mayor Miles Hewitt said Thursday he was happy to have the city police department help out with this month’s event.
“These kids have worked hard to get that far,” he said.
In a personal message, posted to the city’s Facebook page, Hewitt congratulated seniors from all three schools.
“Due to the COVID-19 virus a lot of graduation ceremonies were delayed or postponed, however this does not take away from the fact of how hard you have worked and how proud all your family and friends are of your achievements,” he wrote, in part. “May all your dreams come true and again CONGRATULATIONS!”
Seniors who are interested in participating in the drive through town are asked to gather at the old K-Mart parking lot on West Main Street around 6:45 p.m. on May 29.
Police will then lead the group up Main Street to South Broadway, toward the high school, where they will then make a lap as teachers and staff stand around the school to cheer and extend wishes.
Hewitt and Frye both encouraged members of the public to take part along the route as well. Because of social distancing guidelines and concerns about space, Frye asked that people not congregate at the high school.
“But if they want to stop out on Main or Broadway they could also wave and wish them well,” he said.