Fire truck sirens blared in the lead of a parade of 89 decorated vehicles. Members of the 2020 Leo High School senior class wound its way Friday evening from the school through area neighborhoods to the cheers of watching supporters along the route. May 29 was chosen for the parade because it was the originally scheduled date for the class to receive its diplomas and officially become alumni.
The parade, which was coordinated by Julie Taylor, mother of senior Olivia Taylor, was organized to honor the class whose senior year was abruptly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Decorated cars began arriving at the school at 6 p.m. for a parade start time of 7 p.m. The line stretched from the front of the school clear around to the tennis courts on the north side of the building. The top five winners of the car-decorating contest were Devan Cassidy and Tristan Alcantar first, Olivia Taylor second, Madelyn Myers third, Jessica Hamilton fourth and Jaida Lang and Ashley Bauman fifth.
Balloons and signs were the preferred decorations, but several topped their cars with huge graduation mortar boards and assorted inflatable and stuffed cartoon characters. One participant in a mini-van with the sliding door open performed on a drum set to recorded music.
Bystanders along the route shouted congratulations and waved signs to show their support for the 2020 graduating class. At some points along the route, people distributed food to senior friends passing by in the parade.
Principal Dr. Neil Brown III was in the lead car. Many parents of seniors drove the cars so their graduating senior could be free to wave to friends along the parade route, which took them into Grabill, past Riverside Park, onto S.R. 1, around Leo-Cedarville Park and back to the school.
A graduation ceremony for the 218 members of the 2020 class is scheduled for July 10 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.