It wasn’t the sendoff they anticipated at the start of the school year last August, but administrators and teachers came up big this week at South Pasadena elementary schools, determined to give 5th graders a memorable promotion despite the coronavirus pandemic.
As vehicles cycled through pickup and drop-off areas, drive-thru ceremonies won the hearts of students and family members inside as teachers fanned out in front of campuses, eagerly waving, wishing them well.
Some carried signs decorated with supportive messages, balloons, streamers and pictures of students as loud applause was given by those recognizing their achievement.
Reflecting the current times, a world engulfed in the coronavirus, South Pasadena public schools have been physically closed since mid-March as students worked through the end of the school year via distance-learning.
Celebrating major milestones like graduations and promotions were put on hold in the traditional sense this year, forcing schools like those in South Pasadena to change their way due to the COVID-19.
The drive-through parade of cars gave students a chance to reconnect with classmates and teachers for the first time in two-and-a-half months when the pandemic physically closed schools. Next step in the educational process for most of the fifth graders will be South Pasadena Middle School next fall.
The following is a brief description of promotion activities at each of South Pasadena’s elementary schools:
Arroyo Vista Elementary School
An evening drive-by car parade was held on Monday in front of Arroyo Vista School. Teachers, the AV mascot – “Whiskers” – and administrators cheered, waved and passed out packets with a yearbook, t-shirt, and promotion certificate.
The following day, a Zoom celebration for 5th grade students was held on Tuesday for students and their families. An end of the year memories video, created by the school’s PTA Promotion Committee volunteers, was shown. The video celebrated the 5th graders in a way that best honors their accomplishments.
On Wednesday a final Google Hangout with homerooms was held. Classes watched a picture slideshow, wrapping up the school year.
Marengo Elementary School
Marengo Elementary School honored the educational accomplishments of 5th graders moving onto middle school with a drive-through parade and virtual promotional ceremony.
Marengo students received promotion yard signs, t-shirts, and yearbooks and held a Zoom promotion on Tuesday, June 2, with 5th grade teachers overseeing the effort. The ceremony featured music, student council speeches, and recorded messages.
Monterey Hills Elementary School
A virtual celebration and drive-by was held as teachers and administrators cheered on 5th graders at Monterey Hills Elementary School on Monday.
Administrators and teachers met with students virtually to share a pre-recorded ceremony. Fifth graders shared a self-photo, holding a poster board while describing a favorite school memory shown as an iMovie.
Families were treated to a slide show, watching their children grow as captured through class pictures from kindergarten to 5th grade. In addition, a video was made of a number of staff members singing to the 5th graders as part of the celebration.
Congratulatory remarks cascaded over the 5th graders as faculty and staff – many waving, clapping and holding signs – saluted the students in front of the school Monday morning.