BG, you outdid yourself.
Kudos to the community for turning out in droves to support the “COVID Class of 2020” — then following it up with a peaceful protest, both held on Sunday.
Full disclosure, I am the mom of a 2020 Bowling Green High School senior. I’d been telling my daughter for weeks that this grad parade was going to be grand. Nobody has anything to do. Of course, they’re going to come out for a parade.
But then the city began opening up. Restaurants started serving indoors. Retail was open. Play on the golf courses remain steady. There were things to do.
I shouldn’t have worried.
As the students, their families and decked-out parade vehicles packed into the high school parking lot — beautifully organized by the staff and teachers — the excitement started to build. The police and fire escorts arrived promptly at 2 and we were off, with my daughter perched on the sunroof.
The crowds were immediately visible as we approached the Wood County Fairgrounds — and they weren’t there for the food trucks.
They lifted their “congrats class of 2020” signs high, clapped furiously, rang cowbells, snapped pictures and tooted horns. Thanks to the direction to write the grad’s name on the car, personal greetings were called out to all 215 seniors.
The crowds continued down Haskins Road, especially at Conneaut Elementary and near the Wooster Street intersection, building to the four corners.
A police officer directing traffic applauded all the graduates as they rode through the intersection. The chamber of commerce crew was nearby, saluting.
As the parade wound its way back to the high school, through the middle school parking lot on Fairview Avenue, things settled down as we realized each graduate was getting a special celebration near the bobcat statue.
A faculty group of musicians played “Pomp and Circumstance” — I don’t even want to know how many times — as three people asked for the graduate’s name and exact pronunciation.
The name was read slowly and deliberately.
Ahead, dozens of teachers and BGHS staff awaited, wildly cheering all the grads and taking time to tell a personal story through the car window.
Each graduate was able to exit the vehicle, accept the diploma from Principal Jeff Dever, who was gloved and masked. They posed for a picture, as Superintendent Francis Scruci leaned in for a few words with the family.
Bobcat proud, indeed.
After the ceremony, the news of the day shifted. A protest was planned in downtown Bowling Green over the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer.
How would the city react?
Again, it was stellar.
There were harsh words, shouts and signs. And a tense moment when protesters asked law enforcement and Mayor Mike Aspacher to take a knee in a show of support.
But everyone got to be heard. We showed that Bowling Green will listen, sympathize and act.
Coronavirus has taken so much away from us — and especially the class of 2020. BG gave back on Sunday. Thank you.