Graffiti Weekend and the Sutherlin Blackberry Festival canceled festivities this year, but schools around Douglas County are continuing the tradition of car parades by incorporating those in this year’s graduation ceremonies.
Local car clubs partnered with Douglas and Sutherlin high schools to provide some of their classic hot rods for seniors to ride in during these parades.
“We were asked to help out the seniors and I think that’s a spectacular idea,” said Todd Woodward, president of Street Memories Car Club. “In other places, graduates are staying home and doing virtual graduation. This is not the celebration they were hoping for.”
Douglas High School will hold its altered graduation ceremony, to comply with state guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus, starting at 3 p.m. June 6 in a drive-in style ceremony. Graduates will only leave their car to get their diploma, while families will remain in their vehicles.
A car parade is scheduled to take place after the ceremony, around 4:45 p.m., starting at Riverbend Park. Friends and family are encouraged to line the streets of Winston to cheer on the class of 2020, while the students ride in classic cars.
Sutherlin High School will hold its graduation ceremony the following day, starting at 2 p.m. But in Sutherlin, a parade will precede the diploma.
Cars will cruise through the streets of Sutherlin before returning to the high school and parking on the track. The graduation ceremony, including speeches and short biographies on each student, will be broadcast through the local radio station.
Both schools have about 100 graduates and local car clubs have been working together to help both schools.
Woodward said he’s confident they’ll have at least 50 cars in Sutherlin, but he has not heard back from everyone yet.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get 100 cars,” he said. “I keep putting the words out there. It’s going to be a good show.”