WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Tuesday celebrated the first day back to school for many students across the North Country and New York State.
Local streets were lined with busses and cars filled with families and students as, for many, it was the first time all students returned to in-person instruction since March 2020. However, Washington Street in Watertown was especially busy as members of the Class of 2022 participated in the annual Watertown High School senior parade.
Led by the City of Watertown Police Department, Watertown High School seniors were escorted from city hall to the doors of the school they have come to know well during the past three years. Students decorated their cars, played music, and cheered as they kicked off a new school year.
When COVID-19 shutdowns began in March 2020, these students began learning remotely during their sophomore year. Some remained fully remote during their junior year, while others followed hybrid instruction until June 2021.
Considering this “unusual” high school experience, members of the senior class shared how this parade felt like a step towards “normalcy.”
“I’m just really excited to really get back to normal,” Watertown High School Senior Class President Tatum Overton said. “I know everybody says it all the time, but I’m excited to get back to normal, get back in school with my friends.”
Senior Class Officer Loise Pador continued by saying, “I’m really excited to start our senior year. It feels like we’ve been waiting for so long.”
“Some of us haven’t seen each other in a while and we’ve gone to preschool together. So just having this one last year together, it’s just going to be so special,” Class of 2022 Member Nina Colello added.
This nostalgia was felt by many at the parade as parents, other students, teachers and community members lined the streets to cheer on the class of 2022.
The Watertown City School District, and many local districts, returned to full in-person instruction on September 7, 2021.