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SLHS seniors on parade

Twin sisters Molly, left, and Olivia Bell unload silly string squirters on Saranac Lake Lake High School Principal Josh Dann as he welcomes them to a drive-thru parade for SLHS seniors Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

SARANAC LAKE — A long line of cars and trucks — most of them decorated — wound through the Saranac Lake High School driveways and parking lots Thursday evening for the Senior Drive-Thru and Pickup.

It was a new event prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. High school seniors have had to sacrifice in-person graduation ceremonies, awards nights, senior trips, proms, concerts, plays and more to the greater good of public safety, so many communities have added events to celebrate seniors in efforts to mitigate those losses.

In this case, the school played up an otherwise mundane occasion — picking up your graduation gear — by turning it into a parade of sorts.

The seniors were in cars, mostly in the passenger seats with family members alongside them. Almost all of them wore masks. Most also wore the school’s colors, red and white, and most families had decorated their vehicles with balloons, window paint and signs. They lined up and proceeded through a gate and then down a line of cheering school faculty and staff members — also wearing masks — followed by cheering firefighters and police officers from multiple departments.

Along the line, teachers and staff handed seniors their red caps and gowns, athletic certificates and pins, National Honor Society stoles, cords from Paul Smith’s College and SUNY Plattsburgh for students who took college classes there, a senior sweatshirt designed by seniors Molly Bell and Iyleeh Rose, a senior T-shirt designed by former Saranac Lake Middle School art teacher Maria DeAngelo, another T-shirt from senior parents, and red memory boxes in which to store their keepsakes.

Cowgirl-hat-wearing Saranac Lake High School senior Kaity Burdt rides high along with her mother and older sister during a drive-thru parade Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

They were supposed to receive yearbooks as well, but they have not yet arrived, according to Principal Josh Dann. The same went for medallions for the valedictorian, salutatorian and other members of the class’s academic top 10%. Students can pick them up at the school when those things are in.

Dann said two seniors were out of town, but everyone else came.

Kenneth Dashnaw rides in a vehicle decked out with balloons in Thursday’s drive-thru tribute to Saranac Lake’s high school seniors. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Saranac Lake High School Vice Principal Lynda Peer cheers on seniors during a drive-thru parade for them Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Saranac Lake High School faculty and staff members cheer on seniors during a drive-thru parade for them Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Wearing a "Be brave" T-shirt, Saranac Lake Central School District Athletic Director Eric Bennett applauds Will Blanchard, right, and other Saranac Lake High School seniors during a drive-thru parade for them Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

You can see the appreciation in Kellie Clermont's eyes during a drive-thru parade for Saranac Lake High School seniors Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Saranac Lake High School senior Griffin Smith gives a thumbs up during a drive-thru parade Thursday at the school. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Saranac Lake High School senior Rosemary Crowley is handed a T-shirt in a drive-thru parade for seniors. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

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