By STEPHANIE BERNABA Graduation celebrations kept on rolling in Cranston over the weekend. The members of Cranston High School East's class of 2020, joined by loved ones, educators and local officials, took part in a Senior Motorcade on Saturday morning,
Graduation celebrations kept on rolling in Cranston over the weekend.
The members of Cranston High School East’s class of 2020, joined by loved ones, educators and local officials, took part in a Senior Motorcade on Saturday morning, a week after their cross-city counterparts from Cranston West did the same.
The motorcade was organized by graduating seniors Genesis Aldana and Maria Antigua, with the assistance of Mayor Allan Fung and School Committee members Mike Traficante, Dan Wall and Vincent Turchetta. The event was also planned in collaboration with the Cranston Police Department, which escorted the procession.
Cranston West graduate Makayla Vieira and her father, Dave Vieira, were also present to assist East families. The Vieiras had been integral to the organization of the Cranston West rolling celebration on June 6.
Approximately 60 cars took part in the rolling rally, with many of the vehicles containing more than one student.
The motorcade lined up in the Cranston Stadium parking lot, and the festivities began with speeches from both Aldana and Antigua. DJs Bekah Berger – a Cranston East alum – and Mike D from radio station Hot 106 were honored guests, playing music for families in attendance.
Aldana thanked Cranston East Principal Sean Kelly and East parents during her speech. She credited parents with helping to organize and set up the event.
“If you do see a parent today, please say ‘thank you’ to them,” she said, “because they’re the ones who came early here to set all this stuff up.”
The motorcade left the Stadium and ultimately ended in the Cranston East parking lot, where friends and families waited to celebrate. Some families had also set up small canopies under which to celebrate.
Turchetta said he and his fellow committee members were thrilled to be able to help Cranston East’s seniors celebrate after such a challenging year.
Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse added: “I am so proud of all of our 2020 graduates. Although their senior year as they knew it came to an unexpected, abrupt end, they have really risen to meet the challenges that have followed.”
Aldana added after the event: “I truly think it was something that brought unity to our class since we didn’t get to graduate altogether. It was so nice seeing everyone’s smiling faces and proud parents present to support them. Most of all, seeing all the teachers there cheering us really showed how much they care and support us. Personally, I didn’t even cry at graduation but this motorcade really brought me to tears. Even though it was quick and physical contact was not allowed, you could feel the love in Cranston on that Saturday morning. It is extremely hard to leave a school in which I attended for four years but I leave with satisfaction knowing that we made the end of the year the most memorable we could.”
East’s class of 2020 has earned accolades and inspired others through its acts of kindness during the COVID-19 crisis. Unable to hold a prom due to the situation, the class decided to donate a portion of its funding for the event to a local nursing care facility – a move that started a chain reaction of graduating classes from years past making their own donations to “pay it forward.”
The diploma walks and speeches for virtual graduation ceremonies at Cranston East, Cranston West and the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction & Career Academy were recorded earlier this month, and the final videos are slated to be released soon.