Boardwalk Parade About Community

Boardwalk Parade About Community

This week’s Stephen Decatur High School seniors’ parade had a bit of everything — from tears to laughs — as the Class of 2023 made its way south along the Boardwalk.

What a joy it was to witness the sense of community on the Boardwalk as 350-plus Stephen Decatur High School graduates-to-be participated in a parade with their families and friends. After observing the scene for a few hours and reflecting on it, what really hit home was the tremendous turnout of teachers and supporters who lined the Boardwalk to celebrate these students and their accomplishments. There’s a certain amount of pride that comes routinely with living in this community, but this event every year is one of those unique moments to cherish and remember. The scenes playing out confirming real connections among adults and young people are unforgettable.

As youngsters, many of these graduates spent a lot of time on the Boardwalk in arcades, riding amusements and eating the traditional fare. Many of the seniors have also worked on the Boardwalk or on the beach. To have the opportunity to cruise down the Boardwalk with family and friends and be celebrated in their hometown is especially wonderful.

Adding to the charm is the fact dozens of teachers – some of whom are even retired – come to the Boardwalk to watch and celebrate these seniors. In many cases, these are elementary, intermediate and middle school teachers who have not had these students in their classrooms for many years. This is especially what brings the emotions from students and parents who recognize how meaningful the evening has become.

One parent shared in a causal conversation she counted as many as 20 former and current teachers along the Boardwalk during her daughter’s cruise to the Inlet to meet with the principal and superintendent of schools for a photo. It’s a tremendous experience for these students to reflect on their memories of growing up here as well as recalling the journey through the various stages of their school life.

The Boardwalk parade was borne out of the pandemic as an opportunity to recognize the Class of 2020 that had their senior years ruined by mandatory school closures. The Boardwalk parade was a positive pivot in an emergency situation and has now become tradition. It’s an event that should continue for years to come because it provides the lasting memory for these students and their families. It’s a true celebration rooted in smalltown, rural life and the relationships that exists within our true community.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.