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Coronavirus pandemic prompts St. Louis high school seniors to hold graduation parades

"We've been through so much," said one high school senior. "The parades gave us a chance to get together and just have fun," said another student.

ST. LOUIS — Some hung out the windows of their cars.

Others sat on top of their vehicle and then there were those daring ones who danced as their wheels kept moving.

"Let's go Kirkwood," shouted one senior.

"This is just amazing," said Kirkwood High School Senior, Mitchell Day.

Decked out in their red and white caps and gowns, Day and more than 200 of his fellow graduates from Kirkwood High cruised down the streets for their own graduation parade.

"This is great. We're having a good time," Day said.

"I didn't think it would be this many people. This is a huge turnout," said Day's cousin and classmate, Austin Hilderbrand.

It was a "huge turnout" for the Class of 2020.

The seniors worked hard and had been looking forward to strutting across a stage for a traditional graduation. The coronavirus squashed their ceremony, but not their spirits.

"In the beginning, we thought this virus wouldn't have lasted this long. We thought it would just blow over," said Mitchell Day.

The determined seniors pressed on, some wore masks and gloves, had lots of fun and celebrated their success with pomp and circumstance, parade-style.

"This might be the last ha-rah, so I think it's real important that everyone is here," said Kirkwood senior Malicia Greene.

Across the river in East St. Louis, more gleeful high school graduates were on the go down 25th Street.

Cardinal Ritter College Prep Senior Gabrielle Jackson, 17, was undaunted. The Centreville teen organized a huge parade for all St. Louis area grads, all by herself.

"I am pleased with the turnout. Dozens of people including, our proud parents, firefighters, police officers and lots of others, came out to support us. This is about all of us coming together as a community, trying to forget about COVID-19 just for a moment, being surrounded by the ones we love and just have a good time," Jackson said.

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