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Neenah honors Class of 2021 with community parade

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 3:59 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Four hundred seventy-nine. That’s the number of seniors graduating from Neenah High School this year, and Wednesday the community paused to recognize those graduates ahead of their commencement ceremony.

Balloons, streamers, paint, classic cars, and even a boat, the Neenah Class of 2021 is going all out to celebrate their accomplishments.

“It’s actually super fun. You never know, are they excited about it? And then they get here and they’re all decorated and they’re excited about it, so that makes it worth it,” says Brian Wunderlich, high school principal.

Tim Gressler, a graduating senior, says, “I’m kind of glad it’s over, kind of sad it’s over. I had a lot of good times. It’s finally the end of the road.”

“I’ve been waiting so long for this. It’s finally my moment. I’m just excited. It’s a great day to graduate from Neenah High School, if you ask me, but we’re all here,” adds Juan Rodriguez.

The “here” is the front parking lot of the high school. A tradition started last year, during the pandemic -- and one the district is considering keeping moving forward -- the graduates are taking a victory lap around the high school campus.

“It’s really special that we’re able to come together like this, in spite of COVID, and stuff like that. I’m really happy that I get to see my friends and say goodbye,” says graduate Jasmine Mayo-Rodriguez.

Jetta Popp says, “I’m so excited to finally have an event that we can go to and I’m so excited to graduate too. It just means that all of my hard work is finally paying off and I just get to enjoy the day with my friends.”

The senior parade is also an opportunity for the community, along with friends and extended family to recognize the graduates in the class of 2021. COVID safety protocols are restricting admission into Wednesday night’s graduation ceremony.

Mom of 2021 Paula Prasinicki says, “I think it’s great since we can only have two tickets per graduate, so his grandparents are all here, his aunt. It’s just great that they’ll all get to see something.”

Every sign, every wave, every cheer, a heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2021 as they ride off into the next chapter of their years.

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