Members of the Class of 2020 from local high schools celebrated their graduation with a car parade around Palo Alto yesterday evening. 

Due to the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order and social distancing guidelines, graduating seniors were not able to attend their traditional graduation ceremonies as previously scheduled.

However, Palo Alto school leaders decided that the graduates of Palo Alto High School, Henry M. Gunn High School, Castilleja School and Kehillah Jewish High School should still receive a modified end-of-the-year celebration to commemorate their hard work. The school leaders mapped out a route for seniors and their families to follow in their cars, along which community members could cheer and display signs from their front yards. 

At 5:30 p.m., all Palo Alto residents were encouraged to participate in a city-wide shout-out, during which they made noise to celebrate the seniors. Fifteen minutes later, seniors hopped into their colorfully decorated cars and drove clockwise around Palo Alto. 

Many seniors dressed in caps and gowns stood with their heads through the sunroof of their car, waving to those cheering them on. All types of creative posters were displayed throughout the car parade. Some students posted giant images of their faces on the side of their cars, while other students supported the Black Lives Matter movement with signs and car paint. 

Although the Class of 2020 has had a final semester of high school unlike any other, Paly senior Maddy Druker was pleasantly surprised with how her unconventional graduation celebration turned out. 

“I wasn’t expecting much,” Druker said. “But so many people were out there supporting us, which was really fun.”