With the more traditional aspects of high school’s most important rite of passage being thrown out the window due to COVID-19 restrictions, a handful of organizers are hoping to restore some of the accolades typically afforded to graduating seniors by hosting a parade.
Dyersville City Councilman Tom Westhoff said with everything that’s occurred in the last couple of months, seniors have been dealt a pretty bad hand, but he said he still felt they deserved some form of recognition from the community.
Inspired by similar parades hosted this year in Farley and Peosta, organizers operating under the umbrella of Dyersville Events, Inc., are inviting all graduating seniors from the 52040 area code, which includes Beckman Catholic, Western Dubuque and Maquoketa Valley, to participate in a parade of their own.
Given that this time of year is already busy with baseball and softball games as well as graduation parties and Independence Day celebrations, organizers knew scheduling was going to be difficult but they have decided to hold the parade on Sunday, July 5 at 5 p.m.
The route will be the same typical Dyersville parade route, starting at St. Francis Xavier, turning east onto 1st Avenue through the downtown, then turning south down 4th Street SE past Goodwill before eventually turning west on 3rd Avenue SE back toward Xavier.
Organizer Teresa Westhoff and Parade Director Dave Gibbs are asking all participating seniors to meet in the St. Francis Xavier School parking lot at 4:30 p.m.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, organizers are asking to have only one graduate per car, however, having a driver is permitted. Students also have the option of driving themselves, but as part of the parade permit, the city is not allowing any tractors or animals to participate.
Teresa Westhoff also noted she doesn’t want any senior to avoid participating because they don’t think they’ll be able to find themselves a ride.
“If they need help finding a car, they can let me know and I’d be happy to help,” Teresa Westhoff said.
Because organizers are going to have 11”x14” signs made for the vehicles, they are asking seniors to pre-register by the end of the day July 1 by calling Teresa Westhoff at 563-543-0630. If graduates are unable to make the registration deadline, they are still welcome to participate, but they won’t be able to get the professional sign printed in time. However, she said she will have poster board and markers available for makeshift signs.
“We won’t turn anyone away,” she added.
The signs are being provided by the parade’s two sponsors, Rolling Knolls Golf Course and English Insurance, who are also furnishing a cash prize for one lucky graduate.
“All the kids that ride in the parade will also be entered into a drawing for $100,” Teresa Westhoff said.
With the announcement being fairly short notice, organizers are asking the public to help spread the word so they can get as many participants as possible.
“Right now, everything seems to be heading in the right direction and we’re hoping for a good turnout,” Tom Westhoff said.