CHURCH HILL — When members of Volunteer High School’s Class of 2020 step onto the stage in the high school gym to collect their diplomas on Saturday, it will be before a small, tight-knit audience exercising social distancing rules.
But those rules didn’t exactly apply Friday evening at the Church Hill Public Library parking lot, where the community provided an alternative, more traditional celebration to send the VHS Class of 2020 out into the world with a bang.
The event began with a senior parade down West Main Boulevard from Randall’s Restaurant to the Church Hill Senior Center parking lot, where graduates parked their decorated vehicles and began staging for the celebration to come.
Seniors in attendance then marched to their seats before a podium in the library parking lot, like a regular graduation ceremony. They received a welcome from Mayor Dennis Deal, and heard a special performance recorded by the VHS Choir, followed by speeches from the Class of 2020’s top students of the year.
Then, every student in attendance was called to the stage, again in traditional graduation style, to be recognized and applauded by their family and friends.
At the end, they didn’t throw their hats in the air, as is tradition. They’ll still need their hats for the actual graduation ceremony Saturday. Instead, they fired confetti into the air and doused each other with silly string to the sound of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” playing in the background.