MILLBURN, NJ — As the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on, the Millburn High School senior class has seen milestone after milestone stripped away during their lockdown.
One such milestone was decision day, the annual event where each member of the class gets to strut their stuff and show their friends where they will be continuing their studies. In the absence of a physical ceremony, parent volunteers stepped in to host a parade for the grads, who got to have their moment in the sun after all.
Over the course of two hours yesterday afternoon, small groups of students drove by the high school driveway on a parade route, each one in a car showcasing their college choice. A number of decorations, including motivational sayings and a banner honoring the class of 2020 were also hung up around the school driveway.
Maria Powar, one of the co-chairs for senior celebration was helping to volunteer during yesterday's parade. She said that for the seniors of Millburn High School, this was the least they could do to help bring some normalcy back to the school year.
"These kids are so deserving," Powar said. "They have such a huge opportunity in front of them to have amazing experiences, and anything that we can do for them to show them how much we love them and how proud [we are] of everything they've done is all we can do."
Each student who came by received a cookie with the school's iconic blue M on it, as well as a t-shirt commemorating the event. Alongside the volunteers, school administrators, including AD Frank Bifulco and Dr. Bill Miron, Millburn High School's principal were lined up along the parade finale, cheering on attendees.
Miron said it was great that the class of 2020 could come together and share their common experiences, and was thankful for the parents who put it together, and the town, which helped with its cooperation.
"It's so much that the whole world's gone though, but these last couple months has been intensified for the seniors," Miron said. "I think it's just a fantastic thing that we're doing for them."
That sentiment was echoed by Jamie Serruto, the senior class president and member of the Millburn Board of Education. Serruto came through in the first wave of cars, and then spent the rest of the day passing out t-shirts to his fellow seniors.
"I want to thank the community," Serruto said. "I want to thank all of our parent and community partnerships. This has been a huge team effort in celebrating our seniors during this unprecedented time. [It's] just a thrill throughout my body. It feels great to start off this group."
He thanked a number of parties, including the parent volunteers, and township officials, including the police department, which helped to direct traffic and make the parade flow smoothly. Serruto also said how key this was for the morale of the class of 2020, which has not had much to celebrate these past few months.
"We've been together for the last 13 years," Serruto added. "To have this pandemic come and disrupt this, really this is supposed to be a very enjoyable, relaxed time. "It hit the class hard, but we persevered. This feels really great. I couldn't be any happier right now."