Principals around the world need to organize this for their students!
North Carolina Principal Tabari Wallace wanted to make sure his seniors got the recognition they deserved, so he organized a personal celebratory parade for the 220 soon to be graduates at his school.
With schools around the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and graduations, proms, and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 postponed, Wallace wanted to make sure that his students were acknowledged for their hard work.
According to EdNC, the West Craven High School principal decided to organize a parade. Wallace, dressed in full cap and gown and went to visit seniors, donned with a stack of personalized yard signs with each student's face on it and a message of encouragement, “You will graduate.” Wallace visited 24 students personally with the rest of the student roster split up between staff. In total, 14 groups, led by a caravan of teachers, coaches, police officers, firefighters and community leaders, visited 220 seniors from West Craven High, covering 485 square miles, taking a total of four hours.
In an email to his staff, Wallace wrote, “This gesture is much-deserved considering what our seniors have been through over the past four years. Hurricanes, floods, ice storms, sharing their school to make room for the displaced JWS babies, no senior cookout, no senior prank day, no junior/senior weekend, no spring athletics, band and chorus concerts, no spring theatre productions, no A-team Banquet, no academic award celebration, and a delayed prom and graduation (yes we are still having these two) just to name a few. This is the least we can do to show our seniors we care and that they are at the forefront of our thoughts.”
Despite the hardships of the last few years, Wallace is still committed to his students and fostering that school spirit. As the motorcade descended upon each house, entire neighborhoods, pets included came out to congratulate each student on their accomplishment. As Wallace placed each sign in the yard, he asked students to “please accept this as a token from the Craven County Board of Education, administration, and teachers until we can finally get you across the stage.”
He plans to continue with commencement and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 when it's safe to reopen schools again. He urged students to hold out hope until that time comes. “This is not a substitute, it’s a bridge to get them across this stage. When you hear kids asking about graduation, tell them this: We will graduate,” Wallace told his staff.
He wasn’t named North Carolina’s 2018 Principal of the Year for nothing. We like the way he thinks and would urge all principals to follow suit!
Thank you for all you're doing Principal Wallace! We need more like you!
Photo Courtesy of Mary Willson/EducationNC