A Saturday morning parade for Temple High School’s graduating seniors started at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center, took a short route through the city’s Historic District, and disbanded at West Adams Avenue.
“I just want them to know they were not forgotten,” said Heather Cook, one of the parade organizers. “I’m sorry their senior year ended the way it did. We’re here to support them and we’re proud of them.”
“I help run the Adopt a Senior Central Texas Facebook page,” she said. “We would put them up and strangers in Central Texas would adopt them. They would send them cards, or a letter, or a small gift, just kind of encourage them.”
She said the Facebook page was started by Stacy Sanders, whose daughter, Alexis Sanders, is one of Temple’s 560 graduating seniors. The class had a ceremony Friday evening in the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Crusader Stadium.
A Temple Police car with flashing lights led the parade, followed by Temple Fire & Rescue’s Engine No. 6. Immediately behind came Andrew Posey, the class valedictorian, in a white convertible. Onlookers cheered and waved at the passing graduates, their vehicles decorated with balloons, the number “2020” and their enlarged photos.
Before the parade, Vivian Romans, one of the graduating seniors, helped her mother, Shelley Romans, and her grandparents, Glenn and Connie Parr, decorate the Ford F150 she rode in.
Not having a normal senior year was somewhat compensated for by hopefully saving lives through social distancing, Vivian said. She wanted to help, she said, and has a job at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple.
“I’m a greeter-screener,” she said.
She welcomes walk-ins, checks their temperature and asks them if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
Vivian plans to attend Temple College and transfer to Tarleton State University in Stephenville. “I want to be an eighth-grade history teacher,” she said.
Graduating senior Dominic Pitre said he will be studying law enforcement at Temple College. His mother, Joanne Potter, and stepfather, Allen Potter, were decorating the Dodge Caravan he rode in. So was her oldest son, Art Palacios, 23, who’s studying philosophy and political science at the University of Houston. Her daughter Ayana Pitre, 15, who was writing “2020” and drawing toilet paper on a window of the car, will be a sophomore at THS this fall.
Roger Gandara said he has two girls graduating, Aulani and Rogelia. Rogelia said she’ll be pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, and might transfer to Texas State University in San Marcos.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Rogelia said of her days as a Wildcat. “I made a lot of memories. I love Temple.”
Aulani Gandara said she plans to attend Angelo State University in San Angelo and wants to be a pediatrician.
“My favorite thing ever was the playoff games and band competition,” she said of her time at THS. She played flute in the Wildcat band.